In our previous installment of WTF, D&D, the Colonial Marines from Aliens landed on the surface of a bright, sunny planet on a mission to establish contact with a lost colony that turned out to be encased in crystal. What started as a bug hunt turned into a goblin rout as the Marines wandered into a goblin trap. They called for immediate evac, but their dropship was intercepted by bearded wizard Elminster riding atop a pegasus. There seems to be no saving the colony, so our tribute to Bill Paxton (Hudson from Aliens) concludes with a trip up a very perilous mountain so that Bishop can remotely pilot the Sulaco’s remaining dropship to the Forgotten Realms and allow the surviving Colonial Marines and corporate scumbag Carter Burke to escape with their lives. Can they make it off this rock and nuke it from orbit? Can an M41A Pulse Rifle beat a cloud giant? What diabolical secret is Burke hiding? Waddya mean Elminster cut the power? Find out in the thrilling conclusion of the Hunt for Elminster!
Steve: Gonna say it right now: still bummed about Bill Paxton being dead. Since we played the first half I watched True Lies and he is so good in that movie.
Zack: I watched Edge of Tomorrow and he is great in that as well. Check it out if you want to see some late model Paxton doing a callback to his earlier career and a fun action/Sci-Fi movie.
Steve: Yeah, that was good, sometimes I forget that even though he is a messed up weirdo who likes to run all the time, Tom Cruise is still pretty dang good in movies.
Zack: Shut up about Tom Cruise, this is about Bill Paxton. The hero of our adventure.
Steve: Right, when last we left off the dropship had been blasted by a fireball from Elminster and Hudson, Hicks, Bishop, Vasquez, Gorman, Burke, and the medic lady Dietrich were planning to climb a mountain so Bishop could remote pilot the other dropship.
Zack: You would really think they’d keep a few crew members aboard the Sulaco for eventualities like this.
Steve: Maybe it’s really expensive to freeze someone for cryosleep.
Zack: And why didn’t the Sulaco have any crew? Why did the dropships need a crew and this big interstellar spacecraft didn’t need crew?
Steve: Come on, man, it’s a movie.
Zack: Bishop is basically a person, but better. Are you telling me they can make a believable human with super reflexes and they can’t make a jet plane that will land itself?
Steve: Even Thomas the Tank Engine still needs Mr. Conductor.
Zack: No, Steve, I don’t think he does. I think Thomas does whatever he wants and people only vaguely enter into things.
Zack: Because apparently on Sodor they have figured out a way to let trains drives themselves, but in 2175 or whatever, we still won’t know how to build a plane with an autopilot.
Steve: Maybe get on the horn with Jay Jay the Jet Plane.
Zack: Now there is a horror that needs to be dealt with by heavily armed marines.
Steve: We are way in the weeds on this autopilot issue. Let’s pick up the adventure.
Steve: It has been several hours since Elminster fragged your dropship. You have reached the base of the tallest mountain and have climbed about 1,500 feet towards the summit. You have a long, long way to go and fatigue is beginning to set in as you reach a ledge.
Zack: “I didn’t join the Corps to climb.”
Steve: Hicks is all, “Yeah, I guess you joined up to bitch about everything.”
Zack: “Only the stuff I can’t do anything about, like how ugly you are.” Going to look around the ledge.
Steve: There is a lot of fog on the ledge. You’re still well beneath the cloud layer so it seems strange that there would be this much fog.
Steve: Bishop is like, “There is an unnatural volume of fog present.”
Zack: “Yeah, but it’s a dry fog.”
Zack: Is it hurting visibility?
Steve: Yes, it seems to be coming from a large cave that opens onto the ledge.
Zack: Going to turn on the motion tracker and slowly approach the cave.
Steve: Hicks, Vasquez, and Deitrich are right there with you. Bishop, Burke, and Gorman bringing up the rear.
Zack: Anything on the tracker?
Steve: Not at first. You move into the cave about 40 feet and it opens up into a huge chmber. You see the glow of fire light through the fog inside the cave and it is registering on your tracker.
Zack: Like a fireplace?
Steve: More like a fire pit. It’s a big fire.
Zack: “I don’t like this, man. Something ain’t right.”
Steve: “Yeah, but secreted from what?”
Zack: “Hicks, that doesn’t even work, man. You can’t just say that, man. Fire ain’t secreted.”
Steve: Bishop is about to say something about like an alien bird that craps out fire when all of the sudden your motion tracker starts pinging. It’s something big and it’s headed right for you!
Zack: “Uh, I got motion here! It’s big! It’s coming right for us!”
Steve: Everybody readies up as you watch the blob approaching on the motion tracker.
Zack: Is there any sort of cover in the cave?
Steve: Not really. There seem to be places where there were stalagmites, but these have been somehow cleared away, leaving only some ragged stumps.
Zack: Hudson is gonna move to the edge of the cave and maybe back up a little just so he’s not like standing there in the middle of the cave.
Steve: You and all the Marines back towards the cave wall as a huge shadow appears in the fog inside the cave. It seems to be some sort of giant humanoid. A blue-skinned, white haired giant wearing genie pants storms out of the fog.
Zack: It’s an Avatar! I knew I shouldn’t have worked with Cameron!
Steve: I did not say giant cat person.
Zack: I’m switching to grenade mode on my pulse rile and getting ready to shoot this thing with a grenade.
Steve: It stops in front of you and bellows with rage. “Who dares disturb my home in the clouds?!”
Zack: “Is it really a house though?” I shout. “It’s more of a natural feature that you inhabit.”
Steve: He roars with fury and sends wind howling through the cave. It buffets you and makes it hard to stand.
Zack: “Light it up!”
Steve: You’re not going to try to talk to it?
Zack: Talk to it? I’m a marine with a grenade launcher pointed at this thing. I am going to blast it!
Steve: Hudson fires a grenade and the giant is struck in the chest. It is wounded by the explosion, but this only seems to increase its rage.
Zack: Is everybody else shooting?
Steve: Yeah, once you shoot everyone else starts firing, only they are using guns instead of grenades and these seem to be doing very little harm to the giant as he charges forward and swings his mighty fists.
Steve: Hits Dietrich. 45 damage. She goes flying out of sight into the fog-filled cave. You hear a sickening thump as she lands somewhere.
Steve: Not necessarily according to the way injuries work in this game but I am 100% saying yes she just died.
Steve: Gorman is all, “P-pull back! We have to evacuate the area!”
Zack: Firiing another grenade. I want to hit this thing in the head if possible.
Steve: The cloud giant rears back to strike another blow as he is peppered with gunfire from your fellow marines. As he starts to swing his mighty fists, you launch another grenade, hitting the blue-hued brute square in his face.
Zack: “GET SOME!”
Steve: The giant staggers backwards, grabbing at the bloody mess of his face. He flops onto his back.
Zack: How many grenades do I have?
Steve: One left.
Zack: Does this thing have balls? I want to shoot my last grenade at his balls.
Steve: As the giant is thrashing on the ground with a badly injured face, Hudson heroically steps forward and fires a greande up the loincloth of the wounded giant. There is an explosion and his bellowing goes from angry pain to agony. He grabs his bloody loincloth and rolls around on the ground.
Zack: “And THAT is why you do NOT fuck with the marines!”
Steve: The giant seems to be in the process of slowly dying.
Steve: You realize you guys walked into his home and fired grenades at him until he died. right?
Zack: I did what had to be done. Hudson is high-fiving Hicks and Vasquez.
Steve: You guys find Dietrech busted up like a lawn chair after a hurricane.
Zack: Checking her body for any useful supplies.
Steve: You recover her medical kit and some ammo.
Zack: More grenades?
Steve: No more grenades. Hicks and Vasquez have a couple each, but nobody else.
Zack: I want to look this place over for any loot we can grab. There has to be something worth taking in here.
Steve: You search the cave as the fog that made it hard to see begins to dissipate. You find a lot of giant-sized stuff. Giant bowl and cup, a giant box filled with giant clothes and other stuff like that.
Zack: Did he have like a Sunday suit?
Steve: A nicer loincloth.
Steve: You also find a giant birthday cupcake with one candle and crude card that says “Happy Birthday Grug, Love, Mom”
Zack: Oh man, we killed him on his birthday?
Steve: Looks like.
Zack: How big is the cupcake?
Steve: Like the size of a large bucket.
Zack: “Surf’s up, bad asses. We got ourselves a cupcake. Happy birthday to Grug.”
Steve: You’re going to eat the cupcake?
Zack: We keep what we kill.
Steve: You take a bite of the cupcake and… it’s really good. It’s fantastic. A rich buttery frosting and the cake is just perfectly moist with a hint of a lemon zing. Grug had a real talent as a baker.
Zack: Hell yes. Hudson is chowing down on cupcake until he can’t eat anymore.
Steve: I mean the thing is you fill up on a cupcake and twenty minutes later you sort of want more cupcake. But there is so much cupcake that you can’t possibly eat it all even with your big boy marine appetites.
Zack: Anything to wrap it up with?
Steve: The nicer loincloth.
Zack: I guess I will just fill my pockets with handfuls of the cupcake. I mean it will have lint and like shell casings stuck in it but I would rather have that than a wad of cupcake that has been pressed up against some giant’s nasty taint rag.
Steve: You paint a picture with your words.
Zack: “We better get up to the top of that mountain. Bishop needs to fly that dropship down here.”
Steve: It is fully night by the time you exit the cave. A cold wind whips at you and the other marines as you continue to climb the mount. Although most of the going is not very steep, you are starting to feel weakened by the altitude. The stars are bright and clear up this high.
Zack: “It’s kinda romantic up here. Vasquez, will you go steady with me?”
Steve: “Go to hell, puto!”
Zack: “Already there, just looking for a date to the prom.”
Steve: Hicks says, “Stay frosty, people. We’re getting close to the top.”
Steve: It’s easy to stay frosty because it is much colder at this altitude. Your breath is steaming as you reach the summit and emerge onto a small slope with a black tower about 50-feet high.
Zack: Saying to Bishop, “Let me guess, we have to go in that creepy ass tower…”
Steve: Bishop says, “To get the best siginal, I should probably be at the top. It might also provide some shelter from the wind.”
Zack: “Hicks, you go first.”
Steve: Gorman goes to the door first and tries the nob. The door swings inward with a groan of ancient hinges.
Zack: “Go inside and poke around, sir.”
Steve: Hicks shoves you towards the door. Vasquez walks past you giving you a glare. Bishop and Burke bring up the rear.
Zack: I guess it probably doesn’t reflect on me to be a bigger chicken than Gorman.
Steve: You move into the tower, playing your lights over alchemy equipment, shelves of reagents, ancient tomes, and strange trinkets.
Steve: Hicks says, “Don’t touch anything. We go upstairs and we call in the dropship and then we get the hell out of here.”
Zack: Keeping in tight. Scanning for targets. Gonna get up on that roof.
Steve: You climb the creaky stairs to the second floor, which seems like a bedroom and also a study. The stairs continue up to a third floor which features a telescope and a stone circle with chalked runes.
Steve: Burke is like, “Maybe we should take our time and really look over this stuff. There could be something useful to the company.”
Zack: “Do any of those symbols on the floor look like the Weyland-Yutani logo to you, Burke?”
Steve: “Well, yeah, actually that one sort of does if you combind the W with the T and added two dots above and below.”
Zack: “That wasn’t my point. Don’t try to confuse me. We’re getting out of here and we’re going to drop a nuke on the whole place.”
Steve: “Lieutenant,” says Burke. “There is a large dollar value attached to the colony here and an expenditure on the mission to reestablish contact. If we can maked good on that expenditure by recovering certain artifacts for the Bio-Weapons dvision, then you could be looking at a promotion.”
Zack: “No way, man. We gotta take off and nuke this place from orbit. Only way to be sure.”
Steve: Burke gets all smarmy and was like, “I was asking Lieutenant Gorman.”
Steve: And Gorman is like, “Gotta take off. Nuke this place from orbit. Only way to be sure.”
Zack: I think that argument is settled. Let’s get up on the roof.
Steve: You climb a ladder to the roof of the tower and step out onto the windblown roof that overlooks the giant mountain and the clouds that hide the ground far below. Bishop sets up a portable antenna with your help and starts flying the dropship down.
Steve: “It will take about 20 minutes,” says Bishop.
Zack: “Great man, let’s have a barbecue or something. Crack some cold ones open with the boys. No offense, Vasquez.”
Steve: “None taken, pendejo.”
Steve: Hicks is like, “Just keep a lookout for that guy on his flying horse. If we spot him, Bishop can take evasive action.”
Zack: I’ll post up on the ramparts or whatever sort of wall this tower has on the roof and get ready to lay down some serious fire on a flying horse.
Steve: You scan the night sky, but see nothing. The tense minutes tick by with periodic updates from Bishop. Finally he says, “The dropship is through the upper atmosphere and on approach. I will have it on the ground in five minutes.”
Zack: Alright, we should get out there on the ground and secure the landing area.
Steve: Hicks agrees, but before he or Gorman can give an order to set up a perimeter for a landing zone there is a flash of green light in the middle of the roof.
Zack: I’m opening fire and shooting, “Get some! Get some you bearded piece of shit! GET SOME!”
Steve: You open fire without hesitation, unload a full magazine from your pulse rifle into the shimmering green figure that takes shape on the roof. Your bullets and the bullets of your friends seem to do nothing and gradually the shooting dies away.
Steve: The glow fades, revealing Elminster. He has a large, floppy wizard cap, a long beard, and a pipe puffing and chuffing with smoke. “Hail and well met, fellow travelers!”
Zack: “Use the incendiaries!” Do we have flamethrowers?
Steve: Vasquez salvaged one from the APC. She sparks it and blasts a tongue of napalm and fire at Elminster.
Steve: He is like, “oh, deary me, you’ll burn up the library!” as he casts a flame protection spell. The fire just wooshes over him like a breeze.
Zack: “Shoot him with grenades or something! I’m running out of ideas here!”
Steve: Hicks fires a grenade and it seems to knock Elminster back a little, but it injures Gorman and knocks him to the ground in the blast. Hicks shouts, “Cover Bishop, he has to land that dropship!”
Zack: I will run at Elminster and swing the butt of my pulse rifle.
Steve: You clock Elminster and he straightens up his hat and says, “Now, now, now, don’t you seem a little big for your britches?” He waggles his fingers and you start to shrink!
Zack: “What the fuck, man? Hicks! Bishop, man! I’m shrinking! I’m getting tinier! What the fuck!?”
Steve: You shrink down to about the size of a Star Wars figure.
Zack: 3.75 or 6 inch?
Steve: 6 inch black series for sure.
Zack: What about all my equipment?
Steve: It shrunk down with you. So you could reload your pulse rifle and shoot bullets the size of grains of salt at him.
Zack: You know, I was thinking that the weird thing about a shrink ray is that it is way less plausible than a time machine. A time machine you can at least conceptualize some of the ways it might work even if the energies involved would be impossible. I got nothing on a shrink ray. If you shrink somebody down, most of their mass either has to be destroyed, rendering them into just like a person-sized lump of meat, or their molecules have to be condensed, which would just increase their density and potentially cause some sort of atomic reaction. You can’t just squeeze a bunch of atoms down to 1/20th of their size and nothing happens.
Steve: Oh, look at Neil deGrasse Tyson over here talking to me about shrink rays.
Steve: Well, guess what, Dr. Nofun: this is a shrink SPELL not a shrink ray. So, like, it’s actual magic, my dude. No science involved.
Zack: I guess what I am saying is that Elminster is a real piece of shit and I hate him.
Zack: I don’t think my gun is going to hurt him at this size but I’m still big enough I could bite him or stab him with my tiny knife or something. I’ll run at him.
Steve: Hicks tries to shoot Elminster with a shotgun and Elminster turns Hicks to stone.
Zack: (In a tiny little high pitched voice) “You mother fucker! Get some of this! You afraid of me! Die! Dieeeee!”
Steve: Elminster is busy dealing with Vasquez. She shouts, “You bearded Chupacabra I am going to put you down!” She comes at him with a knife.
Steve: He grabs her with two giant, invisible hands and starts squeezing her. “You silly people from far away really should not have come to Faerun!”
Zack: “GET. AWAY. FROM. HER. YOU. BITCH!”
Zack: Running at his robe and climbing up to bite his throat.
Steve: You get most of the way up his robe and you notice a sack.
Zack: Not touching that. Even in these desperate times.
Steve: No, on the ouside of his robe.
Zack: What, like poked through a flap?
Steve: No! It’s like a bag on his belt. Hanging from his belt. It is oddly rectangular.
Zack: Can I open it up without him noticing?
Steve: Yes, he seems to be struggling to fight with injured Gorman now who is trying to save Vasquez.
Zack: Alright, I will reach into the bag.
Steve: You feel what seems to be a deck of playing cards.
Zack: Drawing a card. Is this what I think it is?
Steve: Just as Elminster guffaws and transforms Gorman into a chicken, you draw a card out of the deck. The card is almost as large as you. On the face of the card is a depiction of a full moon.
Zack: What does that mean?
Steve: Dude you just drew four uses of the wish spell from the Deck of Many Things.
Zack: Oh shit. Okay. We are in a dire situation. I have to use these very wisely.
Steve: What is your fist wish?
Zack: Without question a huge dick.
Steve: Hudson now has a penis equivalent to 1/2 his body length. So about 3 inches.
Zack: Wish #2 an awesome ride. Something that is fast, showy, but American.
Steve: A 1967 Camaro, cherry red with white stripes, appears out in the landing area.
Zack: Hmmmmmm… I guess I had better make room for the dropship to land. So I need tp wish for a landing zone for that.
Steve: The Camaro is flung off the side of the mountain and plunges into the clouds. The landing zone is free again.
Zack: “Oh, of course, everybody just wants to shit on me. I get it.” Well I have one wish left, right?
Steve: Yeah, you’d better think of something to save your fellow marines from Elminster.
Zack: No, no, no. I got one wish. I already been screwed out of my Camaro. I am going to wish I was on a beautiful beach with sexy babes in bikinis, enjoying the sun and surf.
Steve: The cold, wind-swept mountain and the desperate battle with the alien wizard disappear. You arrive in a sunny beach with white sands and tropical music playing in the background.
Zack: Bikini babes?
Steve: Several sexy bikini babes are walking in your direction.
Zack: “Hello ladies, want to play tug of war with my huge dick? It is half my body length.
Steve: They don’t hear the 6″ tall Colonial Marine propositioning them from the sand. They walk right over you, nearly stepping on you with feet as big as you.
Zack: That’s somebody’s fantasy, but not mine! Dodging out of the way. “I knew I forgot something! Damn it, now I have to find another magic deck of cards!”
Steve: Unfortunately for you, the sexy babes might not have heard you, but a crab did. And it’s about twice your size and scuttling your way.
Zack: I knew this was a bug hunt.
Steve: I am going to leave it there, Hudson. You really blew it. You abandoned your fellow marines, squandered an opportunity to save them with wishes, and now you are going to be lucky if you don’t end up as crab food. You will never make it back to the Sulaco only to have your cryochamber sabotaged by Burke and be killed by Elminster’s beard while traveling through deep space.
Zack: Yeah, okay, I took the coward’s way out. But I have to admit there is something comforting about Hudson winding up on a beach trying to hit on giant women and being chased by crabs.
Steve: I’m sure Bill is being chased by a crab around that big beach in the sky.
Zack: Thanks for joining us on this journey with Hudson and the Colonial Marines in the Hunt for Elminster! If you feel like tossing some support our way, check out our Patreon!