“I am the Wrath of God. The earth I pass will see me and tremble. But whoever follows me and the river will win untold riches.”
August 23, 2011
The following is the partial script of a freestyle PBEM jungle adventure played with a friend last year. Complete with arcade sound effects. It introduced El Grande Loco, an NPC mentioned in the Dark Jungle Sandbox Generation system.
Giancarlo Montoya is his name, but only his mother calls him that anymore. It’s “El Grande” to everybody else. In the gossip of those who have followed him into the jungle and witnessed his obsession for finding Mayatashi’s gold, he has become “El Grande Loco”.
This morning El Grande Loco left behind what was left of his decimated expedition…
“It’s so close I can taste it.”
“Please El Grande, let this heavy rain pass. The mules can’t make it up in this mud.”
El Grande slugs a mule in a fit of rage, then kicks it while it thrashes on the ground, braying painfully.
“NO RAAAA-EEEEEN WILL STOP ME NOW! COWARDS! I DON’T NEED DEEZ SHTEEEENKING AAAAASSES!”
…and continued up the wet and thick jungle ravine by himself.
As he climbed higher, El Grande Loco became so excited that he couldn’t help but converse with himself. “Eeet’s close, very close. I know eet eez!” “Yez, yez, I feel it too!” “You, El Grande, will be revered and hailed as keeeeeeng!” “Yez, yez, nobody can stop me now!”
Then, he finds a rusted metal sign. It once said “Mac’s Mother Lode” but the first word is crossed out and it now says “Mayatashi’s Mother Lode”. El Grande Loco looks around in mad excitement. Seeing nothing he crashes through the foliage and comes to a small clearing. There stands a small, wicked man, or what once was a man before enduring centuries of isolation and madness.
Then it scampers up the hill and ducks into the hidden mine entrance, looks back and taunts again: “Come now. It’s so exciting to have you as our guest.” Then it disappears into the mine.
El Grande enters the mine, whooping and hollering.
A single long horizontal shaft cuts straight into the mountain. Small candles are spaced haphazardly, dimly lighting the way as far as El Grande can see. It looks like they’ve been lit for a thousand years. Thick timbers support the walls and ceiling.
If he notices nothing then he will grab a candle and toss it down the passageway, grabbing more and more until the area around the suspect timber is lit well enough to initiate a more thorough search.
El Grande carefully avoids the trap and proceeds down the length of the mine. Wary but confident.
You see a partially concealed length of twine leading from the suspicious timber and up the mine shaft, half buried in the thick dust on the floor.
El Grande tosses the candles on top of the twine. Igniting it.
None of the tracks look particularly new. In fact, it appears the tracks are all from a left shoe.
El Grande stomps down hard on the stones at the very edge of the area, keeping one foot firmly planted on solid terra firma.
The floor gives way slightly where he stomps. It looks as if there is a pit, covered with large leaves, then camouflaged with pebbles and dust.
He proceeds cautiosly across the area, locating firm areas where he can stand and knocking down the rest until he has cleared a path to the other side.
Problem is that El Grande isn’t finding any firm areas. It seems the whole area is a covered pit. It appears to be longer than what he could leap across.
El Grande hears a laugh:
El Grande grabs handholds and footholds in the rock lining the walls and scales himself across.
El Grande is nearly all the way across when he hears his enemy charging with a blood-curdling yell and a long bamboo pool with a knife lashed to the point. He is a sitting duck, clinging there on the wall above the pit, and it is too late to turn back, so El Grande recklessly finishes crossing the pit. With not a moment to spare he steps down on solid ground and draws his sword with bravado.
The charging goon thrusts his spear (more than ten feet long) but El Grande dodges and grabs the bamboo with his off-hand. The goon wigs out, drops the spear, and turns to flee back up into the mine.
El Grande picks up the spear, tests it for weight and balance, and hurtles it at the back of the fleeing goon.
The spear is very long and awkward and not well-suited for throwing, but there is nothing that El Grande cannot do, and his throw strikes its target. But because the mine wasn’t wide or tall enough to rotate the pointed end towards the goon, it is just the dull butt end that hits. It knocks him down, but not much real harm is done.
The goon gets back up and grabs the spear. With a piercing glare, he momentarily considers a counterattack, but thinks better of it. He heads back deeper into the mine, chuckling like an asshole.
El Grande twirls his sword after the encounter, and shouts a few disparaging remarks about the goons mother corrupting the morals of the village donkey before proceeding on his was down the hallway.
El Grande stops and looks down. His right ankle is pressed against a tripwire. He thinks to himself: “Susmaryosep! I was looking out for these, but this one is almost thinner than a thread of spider’s silk!”
Without moving too much, he investigates the area briefly and discovers pieces of bamboo buried in the dust, one on each site of the corridor. The tripwire goes into the bamboo through tiny holes.
El Grande inspects the floor, ceiling, and walls around him verrrrrrrrrrryyyy closely before proceeding to do anything.
Nothing is found, except there is a spider (about the size of his hand) clinging to the wall and watching El Grande from a few feet away.
El Grande shrieks and feints dead away falling straight backwards to the floor.
There is an explosion and El Grande dies.
(1 of 3 lives remaining…respawn…)
El Grande drives his sword into the ground (non-edge to rope)in order to keep the tension on the trap and then runs for it down the hall.
El Grande comes to a chamber in the mine. Thick timbers scaffold the room, supporting the ceiling. (kinda like the scaffolding shown in this picture, but the chamber isn’t this big: http://www.onlinenevada.org/media/image/45i_00155LOC_Square_set_poster.tiff.jpg )
He hears the goon’s voice echoing from somewhere up in the timbers. Then a chopping sound. Moments later a large punji spiked log is swinging down, tied up above by a rope or vine, toward El Grande. Riding the log is the screaming goon, wide-eyed and manic, his katana flashing in the dim candle light.
El Grande rolls to the off-sword side of the goon/swinging log of death.
The log swings past El Grande, and back up into the shadowy timbers. Then, like a pendulum, it swings back down, this time without its bloodthirsty rider. It continues swinging back and forth like this. There is silence except for the whoosh of the log and the straining of its rope.
El Grande surveys his surroundings with a complete 360 degree turn and then picks up a large, hand sized stone from the floor.
“Whoosh” goes the log, swinging past.
“Nagamatsu is hungryyyyyy!” is the scream heard right above El Grande as the goon jumps down to slam the katana into the conquistador’s skull. But El Grande is quick and raises the stone to block the shining blade. They collide with a shattering clang.
Nagamatsu is momentarily stunned.
El Grande smashes his gauntleted fist into Nagamatsu’s throat.
“Whoosh” goes the log, swinging past.
The cursed imperial soldier staggers backwards, clutching his throat. Then he grins, his smile a mix of gold teeth and rotten black ones, and charges El Grande, screeching: “Domo arigato!”
The perfectly timed and executed maneuver sends the charging Nagamatsu flying straight into the swinging log. The goon, impaled and stuck to the log, emits a diminishing moan…”Mayatashi”…and dies with a smile on his face.
Searching ground level briefly, El Grande finds a mine shaft going straight down into darkness. There is a crude platform and pulley system hanging above the opening.
El Grande tests the sturdiness of the platform. If all is well he steps aboard and mans the pulley.
A bubbling sound is coming from farther into the chamber, beyond the candlelight…