“Ok team,” began the Tiefling orator, “If our information is correct this be the final leg of our expedition. It’s been a long and difficult road, and we mean to end well. We shall need the kind of resounding victory worthy of a party of heroic adventurers [such as ourselves]! Now, has everybody prepared their one-liners?”
The adventurers nodded from one to another as they made there way through the passages beyond the hobgoblin guard rooms.
“Once again, I cannot over the importance of good delivery,” the Tiefling continued, “and the components of a well delivered one-liner are?”
Having prevented Winterhaven being overrun by undead the journey back to the keep, when not looking out for ambushes, had been spent engaged in vocal training courtesy of Des, who was now looking expectantly around the group. At first noone wanted to volounteer. Finally, from near the front of the marching order, Elwanen spoke.
“Good!” replied Des instantly, “And good posture demands…?”
Elwanen thought for a moment, ”...A wide stance, arms ready as if to grapple, and a… pertinant? ...angle at the neck.”
””Excellent, well remembered!” confirmed Des, “Who’s next?”
After a few moments, Aran, who had been leading the party through a series of junctions, spoke. “Erm… Essential component number two in a good delivery is… projection?”
“Exactly!” congratulated Des, “And projection demands…?”
“Projection demands… good posture… and resoluteness of purpose?”
“Now I can see your really getting it!” affirmed the Tiefling. The party now descended a short flight of stone stairs. The air had grown cold, very cold. There was a lingering sense of malignant forboding that oozed from the very stones themselves. “What comes next? Come on now, we’ve been over this, you should know it!” he continued.
There was some scratching of heads and blank looks as the party proceeded through a large empty chamber.
“If you are a bit eccentric people might say that you are a bit of a… ” prompted Des, helpfully.
“Devil worshipper?” offered Sabbat Fau the warlock.
“Liability?” improved Cass Breenan the fighter.
“Character!” resounded Theron the blue haired wizard, “Component number three in the good delivery of a one-liner is character. Essential the conveyance of character are posture, projection, and a phrase or saying with personal or cultural resonance for the speaker or, in many cases, the recipient. This may be adapted within the specific instance of the delivery.” he concluded. Theron was good at this. He reeled off the lines like one might the most simplest and commonplace of alchelmical formulae.
“Fantastic! 10 out of 10!” applauded des, “So we have: Posture precluding Projection, Projection precluding Character, and what does Character preclude?”
“Oh wait, I know this one!” began Ryam Rateater the halfling warlord, “Character precludes Timing!”
“Precisely!” said Des, “And with Posture, Projection, Character and Timing one may effectively deliver a witty and poignant one-liner, thus improving mole within ones own party, lowering morale amongst the opposition, and [of course] ensuring the worthy embellishment of tavern tales once the victors have repaired to the comfy armchairs of a safe and welcoming drinking establishment.”
“Thats the part i’m looking forward to!” added Aran. There were some nods of agreement.
“Now timing is without doubt the most elusive and unpredictable element of the four, and so we should perhaps spend some time looking at the intricies of opportunistic interjections…” began Des eagerly.
“No time!” interrupted Elwanen, “There’s a crate load of trouble up ahead, and it’s just fallen off the back of the ugly cart.”
The party had reached what looked like an antechamber. Ahead, an archway opened into a vast cavern-like space. Peering through the party could make out figures moving amongst the shadows cast by flickering torches. Idols to unnameable entities adorned the walls, and the smell of blood hung in the air. At an altar half-hidden in the darkness on the far side of the chamber the cowled figure of the Orcus Underpriest appeared brandishing a long, wicked looking dagger that dripped with blood. The floor of the room was slick with the sheen of a dark substance, slowly trickling across the flagstones until reaching a large grate in the center. Moving into view from behind formations of glowing quartz obelisks came wild and feral looking creatures, barely human, wielding axes and serated blades.
“Finally, The Cathedral of Shadow!” declared Ryam, “On my signal!...”