Calex and Kickaha take their role playing games seriously.
Keeps and Kobolds
“And when we last left our heroes, they had just set out on their epic journey! Though they did not know it, what would start as just a small quest to earn a little pocket money would soon evolve into a legendary journey that would change the fate of the entire world!”
“Calex… What are you doing?”
“Narrating.” The orange kobold responded. He was small, even by kobold standards, but he was only six and a half years old. The young kobold didn’t wear anything that would count as being dressed… But he was wearing a feathered hat, a long green cape and had a short rapier tied to his waist by a leather belt. Currently, he held a lute in his hands that he was lightly strumming on as he went. “I’m contractually obligated to do that, what with being a bard and all! And recounting the adventures of the two kobold heroes Calex and Kickaha in real time will guarantee maximum accuracy.”
“I see.” The other kobold was noticeably bigger, though still kobold sized. His scales were oddly colored compared to the child’s due to the fact they weren’t uniform. A brownish orange covered most of his body, but the scales along his chest and stomach were white while his tail had a yellow stripe before ending with a brown scaled tip. He was quite a bit older and bigger than the child but was dressed in a similar manner. He had a short green cloak with a hood over his shoulders, and a small bag attached to his waist by a belt. Unlike Calex, Kickaha carried no weapons… But he was a sorcerer, so it wasn’t as if he needed one. “I suppose I can’t fault that logic. Continue.”
“Right!” Calex beamed. “Our heroes have successfully made it to town and attempted to join the adventurers guild! Though the townspeople were all weird about it and kept shouting about invading kobolds… And then there was a sudden outbreak of squirrelitis that the kobolds were completely blameless for really.”
“Clearly.” Kickaha nodded.
“So, after being politely asked to leave, our heroes decided maybe it would be best to get their quest from among their own kind! And so following rumors of a large kobold colony, they worked their way through a series of caves to find the largest kobold city in the region! Now, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of other kobolds going about their daily business there was no doubt their adventure was about to pick up any second!”
After this speech, a deafening silence fell over the cavern the two adventuring kobolds inhabited. It was awkward, especially since the cave was teeming with life. There were kobolds of all colors around, most of them were rather busy. Several were carrying carts full of gold and gems, transporting them to a tunnel that lead into a cave further back. Many others were busy polishing a large twenty-foot gold statue of a dragon that stood in the center of the cave. A few others were in the process of crafting crude spears from stone and sticks. Right now, all of them had stopped what they were doing and were staring at the two new kobolds with fear and suspicion.
“I can’t help but shake the feeling we’re making a scene.” Kickaha muttered as he looked around. “And while I’m all for that, I am a bit bothered by the fact we haven’t actually had a chance to do anything yet.”
“Indeed…” Calex held a hand to his chin and looked thoughtful. “Everyone is on edge for some reason. There must be something going on! And if it has them acting this nervous, it must be an adventure worthy of our caliber! Ohhhh, I hope it’s a lich. I really want to punch a lich.”
“I thought you were a bard.” Kickaha stuck his tongue out playfully.
“Bards can take Improved Unarmed Strike too!” Calex huffed.
“Well Mr. Bard,” Kickaha held his hands behind his back as he smiled down at his younger friend, “perhaps you should go ahead and put that +15 bonus to diplomacy to work and gather information about what’s going on.”
“On it!” Calex chirped and quickly ran to one of a blue scaled kobold that was crafting spears. “Hail fellow hero! I am the great bard Calex and this is my friend and sidekick, the sorcerer Kickaha! What troubles does this noble town face that has made everyone uneasy?”
“Sidekick!?” Kickaha was taken aback. “I thought you were the sidekick!”
“I can’t be the sidekick!” Calex threw up his hands. “It’s simply impossible.”
“But isn’t that literally your actual profession?” Kickaha asked.
“Exactly!” Calex nodded. “I can’t play at being a sidekick if I’m one in real life! That means you have to be the sidekick.”
“That makes sense…” Kickaha thought for a moment. “But wait, did you bother to take the leadership feat at all?”
“Nah, couldn’t fit it in.” Calex shrugged. “I needed the feats for unarmed fighting styles.”
“Well, then, I’m pretty sure the rules state you can’t have a sidekick.” Kickaha grinned.
“Well do -you- have Leadership?” Calex stared at the other kobold accusingly.
“Well… No…” Kickaha admitted.
“Then you legally can’t have a sidekick either.” Calex stuck out his tongue.
“Hmmm, I suppose that’s true.” Kickaha muttered. “Neither one of us qualifies to be the leader… So partners then?”
“Partners!” Calex nodded and turned back to the other kobold. “As I was saying, I’m Calex and this is my partner Kickaha.”
“… What?” The blue-scale blinked in confusion after witnessing this entire exchange. It was clear he had no idea what had just actually happened.
“We just simply want to know what’s going on!” Calex nodded eagerly. “Or you know… Any rumors, legends, gossip. Anything that can be an adventuring hook to get us started.”
“Look, I don’t know what you two are doing…” The blue-scale looked around nervously. “But leave me out of it. Doomclaw will have my head on a pike if weapon production falls behind schedule.”
“Doomclaw?” Kickaha asked. “Seriously?”
“Who the heck is Doomclaw?” Even Calex was struggling not to laugh at the name.
“Our master.” The blue-scale responded. “The one who calls the shots! Who gives you your orders.” This met with blank stares. “That one!” He pointed at the large golden statue.
The dragon depicted in the statue was a massive thing, and was depicted in the pose of crushing a knight’s horse beneath his foot while holding the knight itself above in its maw. There was a large plaque at the bottom of the statue that labeled it as: Tyrant King Doomclaw the Devourer of All Life.
“Huh.” Calex stared at it blinking. “I’ll never understand modern art.”
“So… Devourer of All Life?” Kickaha gave the statue a questioning look. “That a title or a family name?”
“With a name like Doomclaw it’s gotta be a family name.” Calex mused. “But anyway I guess if that person is in charge they give the quests! So we should go see Doomclaw! Where are they?”
“At the back where we take the treasure…” The blue-scale responded nervously. “But you can’t just walk in uninvited! She’ll be furious!”
“It’s fine!” Calex pointed at the glistening statue. “She’s clearly a gold dragon, and those are always lawful good. Besides, we don’t need an appointment. We’re the player characters.”
“Wait! You can’t just!” The blue-scale tried to protest further, but it was too late. The two strange kobolds were already following the carts of treasure to the back of the cave.
The treasure hoard was the biggest chamber in the entire set of caverns, nearly the size of a football field. This made it all the more impressive that the room was filled with so many gold coins that not a single speck of the ground was visible beneath them. Countless treasures were piled atop each other from coins, to jewels, to artifacts stolen from now fallen empires. And resting atop all of that treasure was a massive green dragon. She radiated an aura of fear and misery, as she loomed over the kobolds bringing in his treasure with malicious glee. Long ago had she broken this tribe’s spirit, where now no kobold even dared to meet her gaze.
So imagine her surprise when she heard a small child shouting her name.
“Hey! Hey! Excuse me! Down here!” The small orange kobold was waving his arms. “Yes! You! Dragon! Have you seen Doomclaw? We were told they would be back here somewhere.”
“Fool.” The dragon drew herself up to her full height and spread her wings. As she spoke the entire cave shook and kobolds fled the chamber. “You stand before Doomclaw the Devourer of All Life.”
“Yeah I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.” Calex responded. “I mean… I saw the statue, and Doomclaw is clearly a gold dragon. You’re green. Same first letter, different colors. So where’s Doomclaw?”
This gave Doomclaw pause. She had encountered many pests throughout her centuries of life. So many insubordinate fools who had attempted to stand up to her. She had slain knights, devoured wizards, conquered assassins and the head of a union. But this. This was new. And it left her stunned
“You know, other than the color, she does look like the statue.” The other kobold Kickaha finally spoke up. “So maybe she’s telling the truth.”
“But then why would she have a gold statue? That’s so dumb!” Calex protested.
“It is false advertising.” Kickaha nodded with a grin. “You know, you can be sued for that right?” Despite the bravado of his words the rusty kobold took a small step so that he was now standing behind Calex.
“Never have I suffered such insolence!” Doomclaw roared. “I know not what madness has taken you! But know that before I am through with you, such an example shall be made of you that-“
“The golden dragon turned out to be nothing more than a ruse! It was a cover for an evil green dragon who had taken over the kobolds’ village!” Calex began to speak loudly.
“-no one will think of wasting my time with such nonsense again!” Doomclaw was still shouting. “Your end shall not be brief for I shall-“
“But our brave heroes were able to unmask this villain and reveal her deception! Now, the dragon, furious at her plans being derailed roared as the desire for vengeance against our heroes rose in her.” Not once did Calex lose his tone or tempo.
“Draw out your suffering for days, weeks maybe even months! We will see just how long your frail bodies can last as I unleash-“ Doomclaw herself was also still going.
“But, our heroes were not ones to resort to violence first.” Calex twitched his tail eagerly. “And so they extended the olive branch of diplomacy, hoping they could convince the dragon to change her evil ways.”
“-terrors upon you that you never dreamed and…” Doomclaw paused. “What is this? What is going on.” She pointed a claw at the kobold child.
“He’s narrating.” Kickaha scooped up a handful of popcorn from the bag he was now holding and began to munch it. “He’s a bard, it’s what he does.”
“What does that even mean and-“ Doomclaw paused. “Where… Where did you get that food?”
“Not important.” Kickaha waved a hand dismissively. “Please continue.”
Instead, Doomclaw chose to roar, inhaled and then unleashed a torrent of flames from her mouth that washed over the two kobolds. The room was lit up in scarlet flame as much of the gold coins in the room began to melt from the extreme temperature. After a few seconds of this, Doomclaw closed her mouth and let the fire reside, smoke filling the room instead.
“Perhaps that was a bit rash. I had meant to torture them.” The dragon’s tone of voice was quite smug.
“Unfortunately, the olive branch was slapped aside and set on fire.” The young kobold’s voice came out from somewhere inside the smoke. “Which was a shame, because it was a very nice branch too. It had a flower growing on the end of it and everything.” As the smoke cleared, both kobolds were standing right where they had been, completely unharmed.
“What?” Doomclaw was completely at a loss.
“What?” Kickaha shrugged. “Energy resistance is only a second level spell. We threw up fire resistance the second we heard there was a dragon around. What, you think we’re idiots?”
“You really want me to answer that?” Doomclaw grinned. Now it all made sense. No wonder they were so arrogant. But she had dealt with mages before. “So we have a sorcerer. Know this, I have trained my body to be resistant to even the toughest of the spells. You stand no chance.”
“Yeah, you and every other high-level encounter.” Kickaha muttered under his breath.
“I’m going to kill you now.” Doomclaw stated flatly. “And I’m going to keep pounding your corpses after you’re dead.”
“Then guess I’m up.” Calex took a few steps forward as he began to strum his lute. “Let’s start things off with a Dirge of Doom and-“ He didn’t get a chance to finish before one of the dragon’s talons swung down, intending to cut the young kobold in two.
But Doomclaw felt her talon stop, as if hit by some immovable wall.
“Ah man… You ripped up the strings.” Calex whined as he held the lute over his head with both hands, where he had successfully blocked the attack.
“How?” Doomclaw managed to ask.
“I guess if I can’t play music on it… On to plan B.” The kobold slid out from beneath the dragon’s talon and leaped nimbly onto her outstretched leg. He ran straight up her body before leaping in the air to reach eye level with the dragon. “KABONG!” Calex shouted as he swung his lute with both hands straight into the dragon’s head. The dragon then went flying backwards through the cave wall.
“Seriously Calex?” Kickaha pointed at the rapier attached to the young kobold’s belt. “Why do you even carry that thing around if you never use it in battle.”
“I just feel like it helps bring the entire look together.” Calex did a little twirl showing off his cape.
“ENOUGH!” The dragon roared, squirming back through the hole. “I know not where you two ridiculous creatures came from, but I am through with your antics.”
“But antics are fun!” Kickaha objected as he pulled a small parchment out from the bag on his belt and began to look over it. “Hey Calex, is Spell Penetration a +2 or a +4 bonus to overcome SR?”
“+2.” Calex replied. “But if you have Greater Spell Penetration then it’s +4 total.”
“… Ah! I do have it right there. Cool.” Kickaha held up his paw and a green aura surrounded it as he put the parchment away. “Any request?”
“Oh! Oh! Oh!” Calex jumped up and down. “How about a bunny! No wait a panda! No! A mouse!”
“Always so indecisive.” Kickaha chuckled as a green beam erupted from his hand and flew for the dragon.
“And I already told you, I’m resistant to-“ That was as much as the dragon got to say before she suddenly found her entire perspective had changed. The two tiny kobolds who barely went up to her ankles now towered over her . “S-squeak?” Looking around she spied a mirror from one of her treasures. And the reflection staring back at her was a small green bunny.
“I think you said panda next.” Kickaha gave the former dragon another zap. Now Doomclaw was bigger than the kobolds again, but not by nearly as much, and as she had turned into a green and white colored panda.
“Grroooawr!” Now being the largest again, Doomclaw seized this opportunity to go on the offensive. She lunged forward, bearing two sets of claws on his forepaws and
“And your last request.” Kickaha gave Doomclaw one last zap, and the former panda-bunny-dragon suddenly found herself attacking the kobold’s shin more than anything else.
“S-squeeeak!?” The green mouse no longer had any idea what was going on.
“Awwww, she’s cute.” Calex picked up the mouse and held it gently in the palm of his hands. “I kind of want to keep her as a pet.”
“You are the weirdest cat, you know that?” Kickaha sneered. He just didn’t understand his friend sometimes. Meanwhile, the comment had only left the former dragon even more confused.
“Hey mice are friends!” Calex insisted. “Good friends too.”
“Stop talking about mice, you’re making me hungry.” Kickaha tapped his foot impatiently. At the mention of this, the mouse in Calex’s hands bristled and then began to cower as far back into the young kobold’s palm away from Kickaha as possible.
“I guess this is probably a good point to stop.” Calex nodded. “Odin is going to be home soon, and he’s taking me out for pizza tonight!” Calex set the mouse down on the ground. “Let me just wrap things up. Ahem! And so… Our heroes had successfully defeated the dragon, and through completely non-lethal means too! And then afterwards they taught the dragon the importance of friendship and respecting others! And upon agreeing to do no harm ever again, our heroes forgave the dragon and returned her to her proper form! From them on, then on the dragon changed her name to Loveclaw, and became a bastion of morality!”
“A little sappy for an ending.” Kickaha chuckled.
“But I thought it was fun.” Calex shrugged. “But anyway, thanks for playing Keeps and Kobolds with me today! You always find a way to make the game feel so real.”
“Oh think nothing of it.” Kickaha bowed. “I’m always happy to help keep you entertained.” With that the older kobold waved his paw as a glowing blue portal opened. Both kobolds disappeared through the portal before it closed and the still mouse shaped dragon was left alone in her treasure chamber.
“Squeak?” The mouse looked around nervously.
“Whoops.” The portal suddenly appeared again, and a creature poked the upper half of his body out of it. He sounded like the older kobold, but now he was covered in fur and looked like some kind of fox or coyote thing. “I almost forgot. Sorry.” He zapped the mouse with one more spell to change her back into a dragon, then disappeared through the portal which closed again.
“That… That was ugggh.” Doomclaw shook her head, happy to be back in her original body. “Just going to never speak of this again and-“ She paused as she noticed something was wrong. The entire cavern was still massive compared to herr. She was a dragon again… But she was still mouse sized.
“Soooooo.” A blue-scaled kobold slowly crept into the cave and looked down at his now diminutive master. “Loveclaw was it?” He grabbed the dragon by its tail and lifted it into the air.
“Now, come on, let’s not do anything hasty!” The dragon squeaked as she realized that she now had a lot of unhappy minions who were now quite a bit larger than her.
The kobold grinned knowingly. “Oh don’t worry. None of us would dream of making this quick.”