Dave approaches the contestants, still holding the cage and sporting an enormous grin on his face.
"FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVEN'T DONE THIS BEFORE, THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: THE FIRST PERSON TO GET A GOOD HOLD ON THE TURKEY, KEVIN HERE, WINS! IF KEVIN MAKES IT AROUND THE CIRCUIT TWICE, WE WILL PUT HIM BACK IN THE CAGE AND HE WILL BE NAMED THE TURKEY DAY CHAMPION THIS YEAR, AND WILL LIVE A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE ON A FARM SOMEWHERE." The continued grin on Dave's face suggests that this has never actually ever happened.
"THE FIRST OBSTACLE IS THE HEDGEGROW. FULL OF THORNS AND THISTLES, YOU CAN JUMP IT OR CLIMB IT - BUT CLIMBING IT HURTS (2 nonlethal damage from getting pricked if you climb it). NEXT UP IS THE MUDDY CHANNEL. THE CENTER OF THIS CHANNEL CAN BE SWUM, BUT THOSE STILL IN ARMOR MAY PREFER TO SLOG IT OUT IN THE MUD ON THE SIDE. (no special rules)"
Dave lets everyone absorb the first two obstacles before continuing, "YOU WILL THEN BE FACED WITH A CHOICE, CLIMB UP TO THE ROOF ON A THICK, STURDY POLE, OR TRY TO FIND THE SHORTCUT WE HAVE HIDDEN THERE. (if you climb the pole, continue on to "Traverse the rooftop", if you find the secret shortcut, continue to "Crowded street")
"THE ROOFTOP IS RICKETY, AND YOU WILL NEED TO KEEP YOUR BALANCE, OR JUST RUN FOR IT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! HA! (if you fail either of these checks, you take 1d6 falling damage (no acrobatics allowed to cancel it), your turn is over and it takes you a move action to stand and two move actions to progress to the "Grabbing vines" square, as you pick yourself up, exit the building and run around the long way). THEN IT IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF SLIDING DOWN A CHUTE BEFORE YOU ARE ONCE MORE ON SOLID GROUND (escape artist to slide down the chute, DC 15 if you're medium, DC 5 if you're small - or drop down the side of the building, acrobatics DC 15 to avoid 1d6 falling damage, falling prone and wasting a move to stand up from prone)
"ON THE OTHER HAND, IF YOU MANAGED TO FIND THE SECRET PASSAGEWAY, YOU MUST THEN NAVIGATE A CROWDED STREET (no special rules) BEFORE FINDING YOURSELF LOST IN A DARK ALLEYWAY (perception check to find your way out - DC 10 if you have low-light vision, automatic success with darkvision, or use diplomacy to convince someone to tell you the way out)
"THEN YOU ARE ON THE HOME STRETCH. MAKE IT PAST THE GRABBING VINES BY EITHER AVOIDING THEM (THEY RESPOND TO SOUND) OR ESCAPING THEM WITH NIMBLE MOVES OR BRUTE FORCE (no special rules). THERE IS THEN A SMALL FOUR FOOT HURDLE TO JUMP OVER, OR DUCK UNDER (quite easy to duck under if you are small, escape artist 5 for small, 10 for medium) AND THEN YOU FACE MY FAVORITE CHALLENGE!" Dave unconsciously licks his lips as he imagines this next challenge.
"YOU WILL THEN FACE THE RAGING INFERNO OF: THE TURKEY OVEN! YOU CAN TRY TO GO THROUGH IT, BUT IT IS A STRONG FEAT OF PHYSICAL ENDURANCE TO DO SO. FAST SWIMMERS MAY PREFER TO NAVIGATE THE POOL BENEATH THE OVEN, BUT WATCH FOR DRIPPING FAT! (if you fail the constitution check in the oven, take 1d4 nonlethal damage as you run in and run out from excess heat, if you swim, you take 1d2 nonlethal damage from dripping embers and oil - pass or fail)
"FINALLY, WHEN KEVIN RETURNS HOME, THE CROWD HERE IS ALLOWED TO ACTIVELY PREVENT YOU FROM GRABBING THE POOR TURKEY! STEAL HIM FROM THEM IF YOU CAN. LUCKY FOR YOU, DAVE IS NOT ALLOWED TO STOP YOU. HA!"
With the rules laid out, and the course set, Dave reaches into the cage and pulls out a massive turkey. It seems to have been mutated somewhat (and you wouldn't put it past some of the lodge's alchemists to have done so), but it looks frightened and ready to bolt, "KEVIN GETS A SMALL HEAD START, WAIT FOR MY SIGNAL BEFORE YOU CAN BEGIN. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN PAINFUL DISQUALIFICATION."
As soon as the turkey touches the ground it half-clambers half-flies over the hedgegrow, swims while flapping its wings through the watery part of the muddy channel and nimbly ascends the pole - slipping only occasionally - to arrive at the rooftop. As soon as the turkey's claws touch the roof tiles, Dave yells, "GO!"
Dave the Giant steps out into the taproom, a wooden cage held aloft in his hand.
"IT IS TIME," Dave bellows, and when Dave bellows, everybody listens, "FOR THE TURKEY RUN!!! THIS YEAR'S TURKEY IS CALLED 'KEVIN'. AS PER USUAL, KEVIN HAS BEEN MAGICALLY ENHANCED TO INCREASE HIS SPEED AND HIS ABILITY TO WITHSTAND YOUR GRUBBY LITTLE HANDS. MAGIC IS ALLOWED, BUT YOU MAY NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PURPOSEFULLY HARM KEVIN. THE STREETS HAVE BEEN CLEARED, THE COURSE IS SET. THOSE WHO WISH TO COMPETE NEED TO GO OUTSIDE NOW."
For those who have been in Absalom for more than a year, the rules of the Turkey Run are simple: the first person to catch the turkey and hold onto it for more than 1 round wins. You may use whatever means you have at your disposal.
If you are curious, Kevin's stats are as follows:
Male, Magically Enhanced Turkey
N Small magical beast
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10
For the chase itself, I will be using my completely disused (until now) chase rules from the Game Mastery Guide I bought for pretty much no benefit (again, until now!). Summarized here: Chases. We will be using the head start rules, and you will need to succeed at a grapple when / if you catch up with Kevin (unless you have other ideas about how to catch and hold onto him).
You don't have to participate, but please put yourself on the starting line in your next post if you would like to. Ibid, this can happen after you chat with Cyrus if you like (so run your chat as a flashback) or before it (if you want to do this first) or during it (in which case, sadness, you won't participate).
Okay, wrapping this up now... feel free to post some more for the taproom, but
Cyrus' new skeletal feet clank noisily against the wooden boards on his way up the stairs. Gunari entertains the crowd by raising his arms in front of himself and wandering around the room groaning. "ZOMBIE!" cries Dave, "NO, MUMMIES DON'T MOAN 'BRAINS'... NO, HE DID NOT SAY 'GRAINS', AND MUMMIES DON'T LIKE THOSE ANYWAY..."
Eventually, the barkeep grows tired of the frivolity and ends things (though Dave swears it's because he picked ghast for Gunari). Those who haven't already done so are escorted to their rooms by the giant bouncer.
Just for the ones who passed all their saves... the drunk ones know what they see...
As Miro slowly creeps around the taproom knocking things over and walking up to bar patrons and doing his best spooky hands while saying "Whooooo" in their faces, the not-so-inebriated notice that a crowd has formed a ring around their table. Dave the Giant at first seems to be doing a good job of keeping them back, but closer inspection reveals that he is in fact taking money from some of the members of the crowd.
"ALRIGHT, WHO HAD GHOST?" some of the companions hear him ask in the distance as he hands out some money, "NO, HE IS NOT A GHAST... NO, A GHAST WOULD BE TRYING TO DRAIN THEIR ENERGY, HE'S JUST ACTING SPOOKY... LOOK, HE'S A GHOST... HAVE YOU DONE THIS BEFORE?"
As Jaender continues to talk, Dave rubs his chin, "OKAY, I'M CALLING IT AT VAMPIRE... YES, VAMPIRE... HE'S TRYING TO TALK THE WAY THEY DO IN USTALAV... YES, I KNOW THAT'S MOSTLY LICHES, BUT HE'S KELLESHI AND THEY ALL THINK USTALAV IS RUN BY VAMPIRES... I CALLED IT, OKAY... VAMPIRE, BETS ARE OVER... COLLECT IT IF YOU HAD IT." Dave and the crowd continue to eye the other companions, waiting for them to act strangely.
Dave the Giant moves closer to the table that he may better observe, and if necessary, control the folly occurring there.
One wrong move and I'll show them a real fiery display. At least that moron half-orc isn't there. Gods but I want to crush his skull.
Meanwhile, at the table Cyrus suddenly understands what Miro and Gunari are talking about. It all makes sense now. So does another round!
Now come on, someone fail two saves!
Once more, a massive figure appears at the door of the taproom. Dave the giant ducks under the lintel and begins to groan.
"OH, MY F***ING HEAD."
Dave spies Lort on the ground, just as the half-orc is returning to normal size.
"DAVE WILL TAKE THIS ONE HOME," says Dave with a grin to Sheeba, "DAVE KNOWS THE WAY."
Not a single person in the taproom believes that Lort's journey back to his domicile will be a gentle one.
Shortly afterwards, and enormous hand grips Lort on the shoulder. Everyone looks up to see Dave the Giant, the Lodge's largest bouncer, staring down at the half-orc. Behind him a path has been cleared, all the way to the door.
"PUNY HALF-ORC CUT OFF. NO DRINK NO MORE. GO HOME. SLEEP OFF." Everyone in the tavern hears Dave's thunderous voice.
Lort begins to protest, but Dave clearly grips him all the harder and then one-handedly drags the enormous but dwarfed half-orc out of the tavern. When Dave reaches the door, he opens it and unceremoniously dumps Lort in the street.
The more observant of you can hear Sheeba chuckling gently from beside the bar.