HORSE-PLAY
Introduction
Art Gallery

Campaign 1:
The Nightmare Ritual


Character Sheets
Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4

Campaign 2:
Fatebreaker


Character Sheets
Session 1
Session 2
Session 3

The Nightmare Ritual: Session 4

Word Count: ~3.5k

Content Warnings: Violence, Blood, Endangerment



***


Heebie Jeebies is beside Mwezi, Gloria, and Sunsteel on the north end of the ring. Death Rattle, Goosebumps, and Worry Wart are all on the southern end of the ring, behind a stone altar.

Occam:
"Ahh. Okay, that honestly makes a lot more sense? But...yeah, we're not going to be dying for you. Not before our careers really take off, right, gals?!" She nods, backs away quickly from Heebie Jeebies, and attempts to launch herself into the air in preparation for a flyby attack!


(Talent: Flight, Roll: 6 + 1 )

Gloria gracefully bolts into the sky, maybe even does a flourish of a back flip!

Iris:
Sunsteel cricks her neck and excitedly stamps her hooves. "I don't suppose anypony here wants to just surrender? Would hate for anything to happen to any of you, and fire is really dangerous apparently! I just learned that today."


"Never! Not until my Nightmare comes back to me!" Death Rattle scoffs. Worry Wart nods rapidly at Death Rattle.

Heebie Jeebies looks across to Goosebumps, who glares back at him with disdain. Goosebumps says, "Luna must be stopped..." in a low mutter.

Iris:

"Okay, if you say so!" Sunsteel shrugs and jumps onto the altar, figuring it was probably safe enough now and that looking down on her enemies made her look cooler (and probably even more heroic?). She takes a deep breath and spews a stream of flame directly at Death Rattle, not terribly concerned if he suffers a few burns before they have to take him in. He can go to a hospital or something later.


(Talent: Fire Control, Roll: 5)

(Talent: Force-Field, Roll: 6)


Death Rattle uses his unicorn magic to summon a force-field around himself, shielding himself from Sunsteel's flames. "Pathetic!" He hisses.

Dawn:
As Mwezi watched the flames arc through the air, she got an idea. She brought her alchemy kit with her; simple things she could use to heal wounds or to light things on fire. You never knew what you were going to need. Putting some space between her and her foes, she dug around in her bag in the hopes she could come up with something useful...


(Talent: Brewing, Roll: 2 + 1 )

(Dawn spends a Token of Friendship to bring the roll up to 4!)


Dawn:
Perfect!

It wasn't pretty but she didn't need pretty. What she had was a catalyst in a bottle, a hoofful of tinder waiting for a match. She hefted it, feeling the weight of the glass bottle filled with murky green liquid, and smiled.

"I've got a highly flammable mix of reagents in a bottle here. From personal experience, any flame that touches it can burn for hours. I left the detergent to clean it off back in town. Anyone want to surrender?"


"Uhhh...." Worry Wart casts a bit of a doubtful glance toward Death Rattle. Worry Wart sweats a little. "Are you sure about this, Dea-"

Before Worry Wart can finish, though, Heebie Jeebies- the earth pony beside Mwezi- tries to grab the bottle of brew with his mouth out of Mwezi's hoof.

(Body Roll: 1)

Heebie Jeebies doesn't grab the bottle, instead kind of awkwardly (and harmlessly) butting his head against Mwezi's leg.

Iris:
"Wow, that was, um, something." Sunsteel blurted out. To be embarrassingly honest, she had forgotten Heebie Jeebies was even here in all the excitement. "Hey Gloria, do you wanna make sure that guy doesn't rudely interrupt us again?"


Occam:
"Can do!" At least, she sure hoped she could! And with that she reverted to an older display of showmanship: dive-bombing, swooping up at the last second to claw...carefully, avoiding major arteries and such.


Talent: Fly, Roll: 1)

(Occam spends a Token of Friendship

to re-roll!) (Talent: Fly, Roll: 2)

(Body Roll: 6)


Heebie Jeebies rolls out of Gloria's path, and her claws scrap onto the stone ground.

"What are the rest of you standing around for?!" Heebie Jeebies hisses. "You heard Death Rattle- let's get 'em!"

Worry Wart, especially, seems rallied by the taunt. Worry Wart gallops toward the north side of the tent, where Mwezi and Gloria are.

Goosebumps takes flight, preparing to dive-bomb the altar where Sunsteel is standing.

(Talent: Fly, Roll: 6)

(Talent: Force-Field: Roll, 4)


Sunsteel's force-field manages to absorb most of the Goosebumps dive-bomb, but a single hoof forces through onto Sunsteel's jaw.

(Sunsteel looses 2 Stamina.)

Occam:
Taking advantage of the lack of attention from the other aerial creature, Gloria goes to knock Goosebumps out of the sky!


(Talent: Fly, Roll: 5)

(Talent: Fly, Roll: 2)


Gloria bashes into Goosebumps, throwing the pegasus onto the ground.

(Goosebump looses 3 Stamina.)

Iris:
Sunsteel smirks as she watches the pegasus hit the ground. She felt kinda bad, since she was still holding onto a shred of hope that Death Rattle was the only bad one here, and the rest of them were just being forced into doing bad things.

Buuuuut that didn't mean she was gonna go easy on 'em either. Though as much as she would've loved to cook a prone opponent, Sunsteel didn't feel good about leaving Mwezi alone with two enemies, so she jumps down in front of Mwezi, between her and the charging foes, and channels her magic into a barrier.


(Talent: Force-Field: Roll, 4)

(Body: Roll, 3)


Worry Wart sees Sunsteel jump to protect Mwezi, but he's too slow to stop. He bonks against the force-field with his face.

Owch!

(Worry Wart looses 1 Stamina.) Goosebumps hits the ground, and immediately tries to buck high at Gloria in the air! Goosebumps is growling, grunting, and screaming in a single hideous noise. "He was mine!" She shrieks.

(Talent: Bucking, Roll: 1)

Goosebump's buck doesn't connect in the slightest, and she collapses further onto the ground, since she tried to attack instead of gain balance or footing.

Death Rattle scoffs again. "I'm surrounded by idiots!" He aims a bolt of lightning from his horn, toward Gloria.

(Talent: Stun Beam, Roll: 3)

Occam:
Gloria flies!


(Talent: Fly, Roll: 3+ 1)

Gloria dodges the stun beam bolt, which flies by and hits the roof of the tent. It tears open another hole, casting a little more moonlight into the area.

Heebie Jeebies doesn't attack, he's staring at Goosebumps. "Wait- what did you say?" He blinks and hesitates...

Worry Wart shakes his head, recoiled at the pain, and tries to fire a laserous stun-beam toward Sunsteel!

(Talent, Stun Beam: Roll, 6)

Iris:
Sunsteel uses a force-field!


(Talent: Force-Field, Roll: 5 + 1)

Worry Wart's beam bounces off Sunsteel's field. "AGH! Come on!" He cries out, as the beam bounces back near his hoof!!

Dawn:
Mwezi looked at the chaos, the tangle of bodies and lightning and fire that surrounded her, and thought of just blowing the entire tent up. It would solve their problem sure but it would solve her and her friends too. Not ideal. Casting her gaze too and fro she saw ... There!

"You! The earth pony who looks shocked to see the villain call him an idiot. Don't you see? This Death Rattle doesn't care about you and never did. Your only chance of learning from this, of growing as a pony, is to throw down the mantle you wear."

"If that means helping us or just running that's for you to decide." Mwezi turned her focus to Heebie Jeebie. "Trust me."


(Charm Roll: 2)

"I don't care about Death Rattle," Heebie Jeebies sneered. "I just want... my loosey-goosey back!"

To this, Goosebumps rolls over on the ground to face him. "Wait- WHAT?!" She shouts.

"Shut up!" Death Rattle screams. "No- don't listen to them! They're stupid creatures who...who work for Luna! You have to stop them!"

Dawn:
Mwezi wheeled on her hooves, staring Death Rattle down. "I don't work for anybody. I'm not even getting paid to be here! Still, despite all that, my friends and I are the reason half of this room is still alive."


Occam:
"We don't work for Luna. We're not even ponies from here, remember? But we are friends who just want to help people! We'd rather not hurt anyone, swear!"

"And of course we totally understand how important you are to each other--isn't that more important?" Gloria was circling around, like a loud, brightly-colored cherub.


"I thought... I thought you didn't love me anymore!" Goosebump struggles to stand up, her eyes welling with tears.

"I thought you loved Death Rattle now," Heebie Jeebies replies. "You seemed so angry with me!"

"I was angry because I thought you fell in love with the Dream Princess over me!!" Goosebumps replies.

"Why would you think that?!" Heebie Jeebies gasps.

Iris:
Sunsteel blinks as she watches and listens to the ponies talking. They seemed like really good friends, and that warmed her heart.

"You guys should listen to Mwezi, she's smart. And I don't think it's gonna be safe here for much longer. Y'all should take care of yourselves and leave this cult business behind, huh?"


"I think we've been tricked, Goosey." Heebie Jeebies furrows his brow.

Occam:
Gloria tries to help by backing Mwezi's words with a Lively Song!


(Lively Song: Roll 5)

(Mwezi gains the AWAKENED status!)


Iris:
"So..." Sunsteel turns her gaze over to Worry Wart. Whether the other two actually took the hint and bailed on this scene wasn't super relevant; it looked like they might bail, and that was probably enough in terms of leverage. "How about you, Worries Wart? You sure you wanna see this thing through? You're physically outmatched, your leader doesn't care about you, and it looks like you're about to be SUPER outnumbered. Consider your options carefully, please."


Worry Wart huffs in silence for a few moments. "Death Rattle..." He says in a hoarse, creaky voice. "She's... she's lying, right? You care about me, right? Y-your best friend? Who found you this ritual in the first place? Just for you??"

Death Rattle, for the very first time, seems stunned into silence. But only for a moment. "Of course, Worry Wart." He responds in a slimy tone. "We're just... we're not done yet. We have to bring back the Nightmare, and we can't let these creatures get away to stop us! Help me stop them!"

Worry Wart swallows. "They're going to hurt us, Death Rattle. She's like... on fire. Already. Literally. We have to run... or do you care more about Nightmare than me? than us??"

Iris:
Sunsteel hops up onto the altar to be properly dramatic. Looked like things were going pretty good, and she was feeling ready to push her luck a little bit.

"Death Rattle... you want them to help you stop us? They can't stop us. We're way stronger than all of you, and after you've done nothing but lie to them and trick them, you have an awful lot of nerve to beg for their help now."


(Charm Roll: 3)

(3 Body Chips in Communal Pile)


Death Rattle grumbles deep in his throat, staring disdainfully at Sunsteel and Worry Wart. "... I don't care about them." Death Rattle growls finally. "They failed me- even Worry Wart, you failed to bring my Nightmare back to me!! What good are you to me?"

Goosebumps uses her turn to grab Heebie Jeebies under her wing, and the two of them run out the ripped tent.

Death Rattle screams, "If I can't have my Nightmare, then-- nobody gets to live!" He fires a stun beam at Mwezi's flammable potion.

(Stun Beam. Roll: 4)

Iris:
Sunsteel creates a force-field around the potion!


(Force-Field: Roll: 5)

In the nick of time, Sunsteel summons a force-field around the potion. Death Rattle's beam bounces off, coming back to hit him square in the eye.

"AAGH!!"

(Death Rattle looses 4 Stamina!)

Iris:
"NOW who's 'pathetic'?! Nerd!"


Worry Wart bursts into tears. "You're awful!!" He screams at Death Rattle. "I can't ... I can't believe you!" He runs after Heebies Jeebies and Goosebumps, out the tent.

Occam:
"This is going a lot like the last party I was invited to in Griffonstone," murmurs Gloria from above.


Dawn:
Mwezi let herself chuckle at that one. Surrounded by friends she loved and trusted, standing across from a villain who was all but powerless before them, she felt triumphant.

She passed the glass flask back and forth between her hooves, clearly disinterested. "So. This should be an easy choice for you to make. Either come with us," the bottle stopped in her right hoof and she locked eyes with Death Rattle, "or we burn you alive."


Death Rattle glares back, and starts to cackle in a low wheezing laugh. "Aren't you forgetting someone?"

Iris:
"I have never forgotten anything in my life."


Occam:
"It's true! At least I've never seen her go back into the house for anything! And Mwezi here will definitely do that, you know, she's not bluffing."


"Oh, I know. Go for it. Burn down this whole park. I'm sure nobody will get hurt. Especially not some... I don't know... poor, sick, unconscious little colt..." Death Rattle shrugs, and plops down on his butt.

Iris:
"Ah. So that's how it's gonna be, huh." Sunsteel sighed and scraped a hoof across the altar.

She didn't want it to look like she was sweating, but she sure was desperately hoping Mwezi was smart enough to come up with something 'cuz she was drawing a blank.


Dawn:
"Hey, Gloria, I have a request to make. Can you go out flying to look for the colt? Start screaming if you see anything."

Mwezi turned her attention to Rattle, eyes narrowed. "Just... let him go. Please? If you let him go, we'll let you go. Adventurers honor."


(Charm Roll: 1)

(Dawn spends a token of friendship to re-roll!)

(Charm Roll: 1)

(2 Mind Chips in the Communal Pile)


"No," Death Rattle spits. "I want to burn. What is this hideous planet without my Nightmare?"

Occam:
"Yes! Can do!" Gloria calls to Mwezi. She's happy to go on support here, and zips out through the hole in the tent ceiling, though if she doesn't see him quick, she's going to have to assume he's in the tent.


From above, Gloria can see Heebie Jeebies, Goosebumps, and Worry Wart near the front gate- galloping by the game stalls now on their way out. There isn't an obvious sign of where Jumpscare is, but its pretty dark.

Iris:
"Any luck?!" Sunsteel called out to Gloria. She didn't know if her friend could hear her, but it didn't hurt to ask.


Occam:
"The others are leaving," she called back down faintly. "No such luck looking elsewhere -- he might be near you!" Sure, Death Rattle could hear them, but he held the cards to that particular problem at the moment anyway.


Iris:
"Death Rattle, you have problems." Sunsteel sighed. There was no option here that didn't involve taking a huge risk, and while Sunsteel was not super comfy with gambling with a child's life, she still felt confident that taking out Death Rattle was the thing to do. He wasn't gonna help them find the kid anyway.

"I don't know what your deal with this 'Nightmare' is, and honestly I don't even care. You endangered innocent people, tricked your friends, and kidnapped a child! That's villain behavior! You have a lot to think about-" Sunsteel's fur turned pitch black as red and blue flames covered her body, spitting and sparking off of her "-in the hospital."

Even in the midst of a berserk rage, Sunsteel wasn't about to endanger the life of a kid by potentially setting the tent on fire. Besides, her hooves were more than up to the task, so she tackled Death Rattle and prepared to knock him into submission.


(Body, Roll: 3)

(Iris spends a Token of Friendship to bring the roll up to 4!)

(Body Roll: 5)


Death Rattle manages to duck to the side of Sunsteel's tackle. "Ha-ha!"

Death Rattle doesn't fight any more though... he tries to run for the south side of the tent, pushing open a flap with his magic. (Body: Roll 2)

Occam:
A bad idea when Gloria is in the sky!


(Fly, Roll: 6 + 1)

Gloria bullets herself into Death Rattle, pinning him against the dirt right outside the tent.

(Death Rattle looses 5 Stamina!)

Occam:
"NICE TRY, evildoer!"


Iris:
Watching Gloria rocket through the air was incredible and inspiring, and Sunsteel would be damned if she let her friend out-amazing her!

She galloped toward Gloria and Death Rattle, charging her magic into her horn in an attempt to grab the pony, though in her frenzied state she couldn't promise to avoid crushing a few of his bones.


(Telekinesis, Roll: 3 + 1)

(Body, Roll: 5)


Death Rattle resists being grabbed by magic, but is still trapped under Gloria and Sunsteel is running toward them- coming in hot!!

Dawn:
Okay. So they had the bad guy pinned and Mwezi hated to admit but he was right. This stuff spread fire fast and had been the reason she had a leave town more times than she'd care to admit.

So she put the potion away and drew her combination walking/hitting stick and, well... she hit him.


(Death Rattle looses 4 Stamina!)

Death Rattle, unable to dodge at all, is KO'd!

Occam:
"Oh, nice." Gloria giggled, despite herself.


Iris:
Sunsteel screeches to a halt in front of the scene, agitated that she didn't get to beat him up.


Occam:
Gloria carefully steps back off him, breathing hard after that long dive. "So...is that it? Any more whackjobs hiding in the bushes?"


"W-wait!" You hear a pony cry.

It's Worry Wart. He's galloping back toward the tent. "I forgot about Jumpscare!"

Iris:
"How did you just FORGET about the child you kidnapped?!" Sunsteel growled, feeling very punchy about everything at the moment.


"We- we didn't kidnap him!" Worry Wart squeals, seeing the nirik. "He wanted to help... Death Rattle probably lied to him too..."

He cowers. "I hid him in the Food Court... uh uh...."

Occam:
"Wow, this guy is just the worst. It's probably safe for one of us to go get him now, though, while the rest of us...restrain Death Rattle I guess."


Iris:
"You pronounced 'incinerate' wrong." Sunsteel grumbled, falling on her flank and rubbing her temples. She was starting to feel a mite woozy.


In the teeny, tiniest voice you can imagine, Worry Wart squeaks, "I think Death Rattle is pretty restrained judging by the size of the lump on his head and the drool in his mouth.... I'll just go get Jumpscare now, bye."

Dawn:
Mwezi yanked a hoof towards Worry, her stick still hanging limply by her side. "I'm going to follow him."


Occam:
"Okay, be careful...for Jumpscare's sake, I mean, you'll be fine." She chuckled a little, relieved, then went to go put a comforting claw on the...safe-to-touch parts of the nirik at the moment. "Hey, there, take it easy. You did great out there!"

Always cheering up her friends...or maybe more than friends? It was starting to feel that way. Well, they'd have time to sort that out later.


Iris:
Sunsteel sighs and lets the rage flow out of her like a river, transforming back into her normal self with only a minor headache and wooziness for her troubles. She wasn't entirely all there in the head yet, but she felt supremely comforted by her friend's support, and found herself leaning against Gloria subconsciously.


The group finds Jumpscare, sleeping peacefully in an old food court stall.

Worry Wart is all but silent until they are nearly back to Haybale Hollow. The sun is beginning to rise on the day after Nightmare Night. Most of the villagers have gone to bed.

Worry Wart finally speaks up, "I'm sorry. I... I should've known that Death Rattle didn't really care about me."

Iris:

"It's fine. We're all dumb as hell sometimes, and you did the right thing in the end," Sunsteel says with a warm smile. Things got a bit scary there for a bit, but this was a victory for everyone, and she could be happy about that.


Occam:
This was nice. This was the kind of thing she'd been looking for all along, wasn't it? And heck, they'd done a pretty impressive thing with a chance to show off her singing, to boot.

She nodded. "Oh, we've all made mistakes trying to do the right thing, sure. But we appreciate what you finally did anyway, so don't worry!"


Dawn:
Mwezi nodded. She tugged at the neckline of her cloak, mouth a thin line. "I'm... glad you came to get us, even if it was just a ploy."

"...I don't think Death Rattle would've been able to handle being a Nightmare."


"I'm glad I did too. Death Rattle and I... we loved scary stories. But I think I'd prefer for them to stay stories, y'know?" Worry Wart rubs his head.

"I'm sure when I tell the town what happened, they'll know you three really are heroes. I don't know what they'll do to me and the lovebugs, but... I guess we all deserve that."

"But... I just want you to know. You were right. I do need to make better friends."

Iris:
"Friends are great," Sunsteel beamed, dragging her two best friends into a bone-crushing group hug.

"Friendship is uhhhh, it's like uhh..." Sunsteel trailed off, distracted by her friends' soft fur and feathers.