WTF, D&D: Hard Ticket to Baghdad 2: Shore Leave
Previously on Hard Ticket to Baghdad: Kurt Cobain, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and the unspeakably cursed Eazy-E, along with their flutist guy Friday Station, have traveled to Bongo Island, Kuwait, to lay their hands on a shipment of yellowcake uranium bound for Iraq. They need to track down the Iraqi buyer or the Russian seller, codenamed Hyena. As their cover, they are the guests of Kuwaiti Prince Muhammad Al-Shalad, there to perform and also judge the 69th Bongo Beach Bikini Contest. But a dinner invitation for E and Left Eye has turned to drawn guns and Kurt, taking a bath with his good buddy Station, finds his relaxing interlude raided by the prince’s security forces. Will Kurt get wasted getting wasted in the tub? Will E and Left Eye be gunned down over their filet mignons? How long has Bill Hicks been working for the CIA? Why is Pauly Shore working for Saddam Hussein? Some of these questions may actually be answered!
Steve: I think that’s the longest intro ever.
Zack: Well, I owe it to people, it’s complex and it’s also the longest between two installments of the same series. Had to bring people up to speed.
Steve: You didn’t even mention the Omniopticon.
Zack: I mean, that could go all the way back to the tuning forks tuning in Tony Toni Tonies from the unthinkable cosmic void. Or even further, to when the gang summoned Station and he kept eating people.
Steve: Which he has been doing on Bongo Island as well, including several members of the prince’s security force.
Zack: That brings us back to right now. Kurt is in the bathtub. A terrified security soldier in a tan uniform with a beret and an AK just burst into the bathroom. Expecting to find the lead singer of Nirvana alone in the tub, he’s staring at a giant grizzly-sized tentacle frog sitting in the bathtub.
Zack: Understandably, he opens fire with his assault rifle.
Steve: Isn’t Station basically immune to physical damage?
Zack: Correct, he’s going to soak up bullets without a prob, but Kurt is in the bathroom as well. I’m going to say that he’s not being targeted, but there is so much lead flying around he needs to make a luck roll to avoid being clipped by a ricochet.
Steve: Luck is 45.
Zack: Roll under on a percentile.
Zack: The bathroom fills with the deafening sound of an assault rifle being fired at full auto. Station shields Kurt with his huge body from most of the incoming fire. A shot caroms wildly off a tile on the wall and punches through Kurt’s shoulder. The bathtub begins to swirl with blood. Take 6 damage.
Steve: That’ll take a chunk off.
Zack: Station instinctively lashes out with his tentacles and grabs hold of the terrified security soldier. The man screams as Station rips him in half, guts flung from his ribcage and legs flopping as the halves are thrown in different directions.
Zack: You’ve seen Station kill a lot of people so I’ll give you pass on a sanity loss.
Steve: “Station, bro! They shot me! You gotta kill ’em all!”
Zack: Station toots an affirmative reply, but let’s cut back to the VIP room at Texas Pete’s Ranchero Steakhouse. Left Eye and E have guns pointed to the backs of their heads. Prince Al-Shalad and Pauly Shore are laughing at their predicament. Bill Hicks is standing there at the end of the table, held at gunpoint and looking all sweaty like he has been worked over.
Steve: Pretty standard look for Bill Hicks.
Zack: The Prince stands up and begins to walk around the table.
Zack: “It would seem you are in over your heads. While I appreciate your rapping, I do not appreciate you trying to interfere with the deal I am brokering for the Russians.”
Steve: E says, “How the fuck did you figure it out? I thought you were supposed to be on our side, friend.”
Zack: “I am on nobody’s side except for my own and my kingdom’s. Where we the Americans when Saddam massed his troops? We need to be prepared and that means Russian weapons. At least the Russians deal openly. As for you and your friend Mr. Cobain, I was tipped off the CIA involvement by Mr. Shore. From there, it was a simple matter of ruling out the bikini twins here and Viceroy Durkman. Leaving only you as possible agents.”
Steve: Left Eye says, “That’s a good story, man, but it isn’t true. We’re just artists who had #1 singles on the billboard hip-hop charts and then Kurt who does that screamy rock and roll music.”
Zack: One of the blonde bikini twins pipes up, “You’re also a really good dancer.”
Steve: “Yeah, right, hip-hop dance.”
Zack: “This proves nothing,” says the prince. “The CIA deployed the Monster Mash and used hypno programming to create Frankie Avalon. The break dancing robot move is a product of a lab in Virginia, a failed attempt to turn ghetto teens into assembly line labor.”
Zack: “I don’t think that’s accurate at all, man,” says Bill. “The LSD, that was us, most of the other drugs too, but once they get out into the wild, they’re just a trigger for–”
Zack: Prince Al-Shalad gestures and one of his security men blows Bill’s brains out all over the table. The bikini girls start screaming and Viceroy Durkman looks like he is going to puke.
Steve: E backs off the table and is all, “Right in the motherfuckin’ blooming onion, man. That is not cool.”
Zack: “You are all expendable to me,” says the Prince. “I will blame your deaths on terrorists. But if you speak quickly about what you know, I will make your death painless.”
Steve: Left Eye is pissed and says, “And you’re just okay with this, Pauly Shore?”
Zack: “What can I say? I’m the weeeeeee-sullllll. You just got in Saddam’s way, buuuuudy.”
Steve: We’re going to have to come up with some way to get out of here. I’m guessing we didn’t bring any weapons to dinner. No flamethrower for Left Eye?
Zack: Right. You are unarmed. There are some steak knives on the table. Other than that, all the weapons seem to be in the hands of the prince’s guards.
Steve: Alright, dude, I think I got it. Left Eye will come up with a distraction like maybe drop the condom out of her glasses and get out of her chair to pick it up. Then E will grab the gun of the guy next to him and start wasting these fools.
Zack: Good plan. Meanwhile, back in the hotel suite…
Steve: Station better be on a rampage.
Zack: Station is on a rampage. He is flinging guards out of the windows down to the pool on the ground floor many stories below. He’s tearing off heads and eating them. He’s punching tentacles through walls and breaking guys in half over pipes. You hear shouting in Arabic from the hallway outside the room.
Steve: Is Kurt still in the bathroom?
Zack: Yeah, you’re super high so it doesn’t hurt too bad, but you’re going to need to stop the bleeding. Go ahead and knock another HP off just for blood loss.
Steve: I’ll grab some towels and try to make a tourniquette. He has medicine skill at 40 so I am going to try to do some emergy surgery.
Zack: I’m not going to make you roll. While you’re doing emergency surgery in the bathroom, you hear a woosh and a massive explosion that blows pieces of furniture and burning carpet into the bathroom. You hear more screaming from the hallway.
Steve: What the hell was that?
Zack: They apparently fired an RPG at Station.
Zack: You manage to stitch yourself up using dental floss and a needle and stop the flow of blood. You recover 1 HP.
Steve: Gotta find my man Station before he rampages through the guests.
Zack: By the time you leave the bathroom, the sprinkler system is going off, drenching everything in water. Luckily, Station is waiting for you in the hallway outside the luxury suite. There are bullet holes, blood, and pieces of dead soldiers everywhere. Station wriggles around excitedly and toots his horn.
Steve: We have to bust out E and Left Eye, buddy. This is some sort of double cross and it’s double crossing right back on us.
Zack: You were double crossing the prince so this is like a double cross of your double cross. Which I think cancels out into a regular cross.
Steve: Quadruple cross.
Steve: Okay, so Kurt is going to climb onto Station’s shoulders or whatever hump he has back there and ride him down to the steakhouse. He tells him not to eat anyone he doesn’t absolutely have to.
Zack: Once you’re settled onto Station’s slimy back, holding two tentacles like reins on a horse, Station launches himself down the stairs so fast it’s all you can do to hang on.
Zack: CUT TO Left Eye leans over and the condom she has stick over her right eye pops out of her medically unnecessary glasses and onto the floor.
Steve: Right and she’s all “oopsy I better pick that up” and maintaining eye contact with the prince so she has his attention and he doesn’t tell one of his guards to blow her head off like poor Bill Hicks.
Zack: “Leave it,” he snaps.
Steve: Going for it anyway. And as she does, E is going to try to grab an AK from the guard behind him and mow down all the gunmen in a hurry.
Zack: Alright, what is E’s strength?
Zack: This guy has a strenght of 15, so you need to roll under a 45 on percentile. If you get an extreme success I’ll say you start blasting people, otherwise you just have time to point the gun at someone.
Steve: 44. I’m guessing that’s not an extreme success?
Zack: No. You barely manage to wrench the AK out of the guard’s hands. It actually fires once and blows off Viceroy Durkin’s head and knocks him backwards in his chair. Before the other guards can start shooting you get the gun and point it at…
Steve: The prince, of course. “Put all them nasty ass guns down or Prince Sinbad here gets a whole bunch of new buttholes.”
Zack: Oh, my dear man, you have miscalculated badly. You see, Pauly Shore here is a powerful sorcerer and– CRASH!
Zack: Station bursts into the room, grabs the two guards near the door and smashes their heads together so hard they burst like a couple of ripe tomatoes. The bikini twins scream and run from the room. You can take over Kurt and Station.
Steve: Well the first dude Station is eating is the prince. Then he’s eating Pauly Shore.
Zack: Station chomps the prince’s head and slurps up his body like a t-rex eating a big spaghetti din-din. The remaining guards pepper Station with fire and he rears back and smashes them to death against the walls of the VIP room. He turns to Pauly Shore and… Pauly Shore has escaped through a hidden door!
Steve: After him! Everybody after him!
Zack: You chase him out of the steakhouse through a VIP tunnel and onto the beach, where the bikini contest is having rehearsels. The women in bikinis start screaming and running all over and Pauly Shore uses them for cover.
Steve: E says, “Fuck man we can’t waste all these hot babes with big titties.”
Zack: The bikini babes, guests at the hotel, and waiters are all going apeshit at the sight of an eight-foot tall, 2000 pound frog covered in tentacles with American rock star Kurt Cobain riding on its shoulders. It’s total pandemonium and Pauly Shore gets far enough away that you see he has climbed in a cigarette boat and is racing out into the ocean.
Steve: Kurt is going to ask Station if he has any friends in the ocean.
Zack: Station toots and croaks out a reply, which you take to mean that he has some acquaintances, but they’re not really close enough that he could ask them a favor.
Zack: You also have another problem. Rumbling out onto the beach and crushing a picnic pavilion, it’s a T-62 tank flying the flag of Bongo Island. Its turret turns and its cannon swings in your direction.
Steve: Station survived an RPG. He can survive a tank.
Zack: Kurt is riding on his shoulders.
Steve: Oh, right! Mush! Get moving, Station!
Zack: The T-62 fires just as Station leaps through the air. He dodges the shot and it hits a Hawaiian Tropic stand. The ensuing explosion covers everyone in a slippery mixture of coconut-scented suntan lotion and blood.
Steve: It’s the UV protection that matters. Kurt is ditching off Station’s shoulders when he gets a chance and telling the green meanie to tear into that tank.
Zack: Station toots the flute and goes bouncing onto the stage for the bikini contest, dodges another tank shot that reduces the stage to burning splinters, and jumps onto the tank. His many tentacles are prying open the hatches and trying to lift the turret off the turret ring. Meanwhile, Pauly Shore is getting away.
Steve: Right. Are there any other speedboats?
Zack: There is one jet ski.
Steve: “Lock and load, let’s get that motherfucker,” says E and him and Left Eye with an AK are grabbing that jet ski. Kurt will have to wait to hitch a ride on Station when he wraps things up with the tank.
Zack: He’s doing it. He isn’t quite strong enough to pull the turret off the tank, but he gets two of the hatches pried open and his tentacles start flailing around inside like propellers. There are some other soldiers on the beach, but they’re not really a threat to Kurt as long as Station has their undivided attention being a huge monster.
Steve: I’m starting to feel like we lean too heavily on Station.
Zack: He is a cosmic mythos monster and cosmic monster beats man in Call of Cthulhu. Don’t worry, once you’re confronted with magic or other monsters, Station isn’t going to be much help.
Steve: Great. I’m guessing in that scenario tonfas won’t be much help either.
Zack: Probably not.
Zack: E and Left Eye zoom away from the dock on the jet ski. Pauly Shore has a good head start and you see storm clouds gathering in the sky in the direction he is heading. There is a strange electricity in the air.
Steve: E is telling Left Eye to take any shot she can. We’ve got to catch this fool before he summons some sort of monster or something.
Zack: Left Eye starts shooting over your shoulder, which is going to make you deaf and she is barely hitting Pauly Shore’s speedboat at all. At sea level, only a mile or so ahead of Pauly Shore’s speedboat, it seems to be opening a portal to a placcid lake that stretches beneath a sky lit by two suns and reaches out to ominous, stony shores. You’ve seen this place before. You sent a helicopter there.
Zack: You’re closing on Pauly Shore, but Left Eye is out of ammo and you’re not going to make it in time. He’s going through the portal.
Steve: Then so are we!
Zack: Station has finished killing everything possible and the beach is strewn with blood, guts, and a burning tank.
Steve: Kurt is fine?
Zack: Sitting on a beach chair drinking someone’s forgotten pina colada.
Steve: Well we can’t exactly catch up to E on the jet ski, unless Station can fly.
Zack: He can’t, but as you look out at the ocean you notice a rather large float plane coming in for a landing just off shore. It skims the surface of the ocean and turn towards you and Station. The cockpit door opens and a familiar man steps out onto the ladder. He waves. It’s Bill Hicks.
Steve: How the heck?? I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. Station, come on, let’s saddle up. Get us to that plane and don’t destroy it or kill anybody.
Zack: He toots in seeming disappointment. Station swims quickly out to the plane with you on his back. There’s a passenger door and it’s just big enough for Station to squeeze through. The plane engines rev and starts to taxi for take off on the water. Bill Hicks walks back into the passenger compartment.
Steve: How the hell are you alive, dude? I saw your brains all over a table.
Zack: That was my false flag double. Just an actor. He isn’t actually dead. My name is Alex Jones and I work for the CIA.
Steve: So the guy in the hotel pretended to be killed? Was the prince in on that?
Zack: No, he had no idea. He thought he was really killing a CIA agent. But it was just an actor pretending to be killed.
Steve: But his brains were all over the table.
Zack: It’s better not to think about it too much. Just remember he was only an actor and that was a false flag.
Steve: So what do we do now?
Zack: We’d better hope your friends catch Pauly Shore, because he’s our only lead to the location of the yellowcake Saddam needs to build the Omniopticon.
Zack: CUT TO Pauly Shore shooting back at the jet ski with E and Left Eye as he nears the portal to Carcosa. They’re close now, but they’re still not going to catch him.
Steve: Then we’re going through.
Zack: Are you sure?
Steve: We have to do it.
Zack: Keep in mind, you are riding a jet ski onto the Lake of Hali. You will be in Carcosa, where Hastur sometimes dwells. The godlike being E made an unspeakable oath to. This is like going to the house party of the drug dealer you owe thousands of dollars.
Steve: What’s the worst that could happen, right?
Zack: E could turn into the unspeakable possessor which is a giant, boneless humanoid monster controlled by Hastur. It has a draining touch and it will attempt to kill everything in sight, friend or foe.
Steve: Beats working for a living.
Zack: As the speedboat passes through it, the portal ahead ripples like a reflection on the surface of a lake. Scarce seconds later, you follow the boat through, feeling a sharp change in pressure and temperature as you pass from one world to a completely different atmosphere. The speedboat slows and you see a huge black ship in the distance, lights winking to signal Pauly Shore.
Zack: Now you’re going to roll a percentile for each minute you are in Carcosa. And each time your percentage chance of being noticed and possessed by Hastur is going to double. So starts at 2%. Go.
Zack: Nothing. You catch up to Pauly Shore’s speed boat. He’s signaling the huge black ship and doesn’t hear you approach.
Steve: Both of us are jumping onto the boat. We’ll grab anything handy to hit him with.
Zack: Left Eye can use the AK. E picks up a fire extinguisher.
Steve: “Hey weeeee-sulllll!” Swinging at him.
Zack: I’ll let you both get an attack in. You club him and roll damage for d8 plus your damage bonus.
Steve: 4 and 5.
Zack: You hit him good on the arm and head. His arm hangs limp and blood gushed from a laceration of his scalp. He blinks away the blood and fires his gun, hitting E.
Zack: 6 damage and E falls back, losing an attack next turn.
Steve: Left Eye swings the AK again, specifically trying to disarm him.
Zack: He’s trying to shoot her, so this is going to be difficult. Add 20 to whatever you roll.
Zack: Juuuuust barely. You clip him with the edge of the rifle butt. You don’t disarm him, but he is knocked flat on his back and blood is coming from his lip. Now I want E to roll percentile again.
Zack: E feels a presence stirring in the alien skies. Something is beginning to take notice of him.
Zack: Left Eye can easily pluck the gun from Pauly Shore’s hand.
Steve: She does and she grabs him and is like, “Scrub, you had better talk or my friend here is gonna make your skin turn inside out or something. Where is that yellowcake?”
Zack: Pauly Shore smiles bloodily and points a finger at the huge black ship. “Too late, buuuuuddy. The juice has been weazed. It will arrive in Baghdad by morning.”
Steve: E tells Left Eye to get back on the jet ski and go through the portal.
Zack: You control her, so she reluctantly does it. What are you planning?
Steve: “You got somethin’ I need, Pauly.” E shoots Pauly Shore in the head.
Steve: Then he is going to cast consume likeness.
Zack: Ahhhhhahaha a dark turn for Eazy E. You are going to eat Pauly Shore?
Steve: That’s right and assume his identity.
Zack: Okay, this wouldn’t normally work, because it is supposed to take days and you’re supposed to literally eat his entire body. But I will fudge it if you sacrifice 3 POW instead of 1 POW permanently and let you do this because it’s so gnarly. It will still take ten turns, so you need to roll percentile three more times, doubling each time, while you eat Pauly Shore’s face.
Steve: I’ve dusted before, eaten worse stuff than Pauly Shore. Chowing down on Pauly. Rolling 25, 66, 51.
Zack: You’re getting close. Hastur is definitely watching you now. He’s making weird noises under his hood and enjoying the fact that you brutally murdered and are eating Pauly Shore. As you are wrapping up your feast of weasels, you notice a silent black launch has been sent out from the hulking ship and is approaching the speed boat.
Steve: Finishing chowing down and transforming into Pauly Shore.
Zack: You lose 11 sanity.
Steve: Uhoh. Getting pretty low. I’m tossing the uneaten portion into the lake where some no doubt horrifying creature will eat it.
Zack: An adorable turtle eats his corpse. You gain a permanent insanity at this point, so I am going to say you have moments where you believe you’re really Pauly Shore. Also, if you take a point or more of damage you revert to being Eazy E and you must rest before you can turn back into Pauly Shore. Remember that, because I’ll probably forget it.
Steve: Got it.
Zack: The launch pull up alongside the speedboat and throws a line over to pull your boat even closer. Two cloaked figures climb aboard. They are human but covered in blisters. Their eyes are cloudy and blood trails from their noses and mouths. It is a man and a woman.
Steve: “What’s up buuuuuuuuddddddddiess!”
Zack: They wordlessly drop a plank from your speedboat to the launch and stand aside.
Steve: Climbing aboard.
Zack: CUT TO the ocean where the float plane has landed and Kurt is helping Left Eye aboard. The portal behind her fades to nothing, like a mirage melting into sand.
Steve: Can we bring the jet ski?
Zack: Sure. Station lifts it into the plane through the cargo ramp that drops into the water. Alex Jones introduces himself to Left Eye and apologizes for the whole Bill Hicks thing.
Steve: Left Eye will tell Kurt and Alex Jones about the black ship somehow arriving from Carcosa to Baghdad by morning and the fact that E stayed behind. I guess she doesn’t really know what to tell them about why he stayed behind.
Zack: Alex Jones puts on a pair of mirrored aviators and looks out at the ocean. “I think he just booked a Hard Ticket… to Baghdad.”
Steve: “Then that’s where we’re going too,” says Kurt.
Zack: SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOLKS!
Steve: Yeah, hopefully a lot sooner than this time.