Let's stick with the sword n'sorcery theme for my next post for Ladies Month. So, if it wasn't already apparent, I am a massive nerd. And one thing I really love is fantasy roleplaying games. Because I don't live close enough to a place I can play pen and paper rpgs with friends, I stick with the console ones and am currently juggling Skyrim's dlc, Diablo 3, Arcana Gothic 4 and Sacred 2 in between breaks writing this post. I also had a four year addiction to World of Warcraft so there's that too. One of my favourite shonen anime series is "Fairy Tail" which tells the story of a fantasy realm where various guilds compete for jobs to do and quests to go on. Rat Queens has a sort of similar premise. It follows the misadentures of the titular group as they booze, brawl and battle in the fantasy city of Palisade. The group is all female, there is Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dawrven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Smidgen Thief. Anyone who has played a roleplaying game will be familiar with those classes although the caveats attached to some of them make them less stereotypical. The Rat Queens are Palisade's premier troublemakers and have a somewhat dysfunctional relationship with each other, so join me as we are introduced to their world as presented to us by writer Kurtis J.Weibe and artist Roc Upchurch and the plots and plans that they get themselves wrapped up in.
It starts with a town meeting discussing the threat posed by the Rat Queens; an elf is agitated abut them destroying her storefront, another says "what do you expect when a bunch of young people get rich quick and have nothing to do but drink". Then a man is tossed through the window and we see the Rat Queens with Hannah saying "Now that's what I call a bar brawl".
|L to R: Betty, Hannah, Dee, Violet.|
Sawyer: "If you fail in your task, you are hereby banned from Palisade forever. And I get to punch each and every one of you in the face on the way out."
The Rat Queens are to clear the goblins out of Hindman Cave. "Peaches" get to sack a bandit camp. "Four Daves" to deal with the restless dead at the cemetary. "Brother Ponies" to slay the one-armed ogre at Mulch Hill and "Obsidian Darkness" to clean the toilets at the Winding Pass Barracks.
As they leave, Hannah complains to Sawyer that Goblins never have any loot. He tells her to keep the fighting outside Palisade if they want better jobs. He says he can't vouch for them anymore and now "Mayor Kane wants you gone". Hannah grumbles that they do keep to the town outskirts. Sawyer says they don't and "now you're more dangerous than the monsters".
|One fuck is given to Peaches.|
Climbing the hill to the goblin lair Betty is grumbling that Hannah attacked Faeyri who was making out with Betty over an innocent comment. Hannah says she started the brawl that got them out here. Betty says she was sweet and intense and it was true, "Hannah does need to get laid." Violet responds that she thought, "the way you were going at it, I figured you were getting laid for all of us".
Dee says she never saw the right hook coming, "it was beautiful". They stop to have lunch, Dee says "thank N'rygoth. I'm starving". Violet asks why she says that if she doesn't believe in any God. "Old habit" says Dee, "once a N'rygoth cultist, always a N'rygoth cultist". Dee then says anti-grace:
Dee: "I, Dee. A reformed acolyte from the blood drinking, squid worshipping sect of N'Rygoth will not lead us in prayer. So for the love of his grotesque and misshapen ballsack, dole out the damn food."
Betty open the bag which contains candy and magic mushrooms. The others are not pleased, but Betty says candy is awesome and doing mushrooms together is fun.
|Don't mock the sweets and drugs diet. Works for me!|
Hannah: "No matter how amazing the relics I own may seem, just try to keep in mind that they're infused with the tortured souls of the dead by the hand of two seriously demented necromancers".
The arrive at the cave and Betty is sent inside to check for traps. As she searches she says to herself, "oh lovely Faeyri I will return to you!" Then she bumps into some boots. They belong to a black clad assassin who immdiately attcks them. Hannah conjures up a shield spell, then Violet charges him.
They clash and blows are struck, the assassin manages to slice into Violet's shoulder, then Betty slides between his legs and buries two daggers in his back. He kicks her away. Hannah uses an offensive spell on him but the assassin conjures up black tentacles from the ground. Violet slices into him and the tentacles recede.
|A single ninja is always more deadly then 100 ninjas.|
Violet yells at Hannah as to how the troll managed to sneak up on them, "you're the one with Elven eyes! Elven eyes!" Hannah shouts back that her mother is near-sighted and she is just the product of familial traits. She supposes Violet loves dwarven ale because she's a dwarf. Violet says she only drinks wine, also there are many types of dwarven beer. Betty asks if they can "stow the racial slurs for now? Giant troll just made man mash."
Violet says they hould form up for "the Betty Climber", Hannah says no way and starts "the White Screamer". She begins to cast a spell but the troll grabs her arm and snaps it gorily, then tosses her aside shouting "NEXT!" So they do the Betty Climber which involves Violet climbing on-top of Dee usuing her blades to climb its body, then Dee catapaulting Betty who grabs the sword left by Violet and flips onto its head before stabbing it in both eyes.
|Time for the Betty Climber!|
Elsewhere Peaches have had two of their members killed by another mysterious man in black. Braga jumps out from behind cover tossing a cart wheel when Tizzie fires off a spell. The man in black hits Braga with some magic arrows much to her annoyance, "you put an arrow in my favourite boob, fuckwit!" And she cleaves the man in half. She collapses and Tizzie holds her as she appears to die.
The Rat Queens are bemoaning their lack of cash, apart from Dee who says she's not sharing her savings with them. They come across Tizzie and Braga. Violet tells Dee to check for survivors. While she does so, Tizzie tells them they walked into a set-up like the Rat Queens did. "I wonder who had the means and desire to organise this" ponders Hannah. The answer she believes is Mayor Kane.
|Braga, she is also made of awsome.|
Later they are honouring the dead at the tavern. The Four Daves come in, they all made it, but they haven't seen anyone else. The Daves say they were ambushed by a powerful assassin as well. Now everyone at the table is "all that's left of Palisade's adventuring parties".
Hannah: "Well then, who's ready to burn this shit-stain town to the ground?"
Later they are ambling down the main street singing rude songs where they are confronted by Lady Bernadette who says she is going to call the town watch. They carry on to where Sawyer is, Hannah tells him to move, they know Mayor Kane is trying to kill them. Sawyer tells them to go home and sleep it off and talk about it when they are more sober.
The next chapter begins with Hannah in jail and Sawyer sat outside her cell chatting with her. He says inpersonating him is a new low. She says she wasn't going to do anything to the mayor. He says he thought he knew her, she says she's the same as she always was, "I can't help if you made me out to be someone I wasn't".
Irritably he says he's getting tired of her act and is of a mind to let her stew there for a while until she learns something. "I went to university I know everything" retorts Hannah. She then lays out the facts that someone hired assassins to wipe out all the adventuring parties. Sawyer says but he gave out the quests he could have done it, but Hannah scoffs and calls him a "man puppy".
He goes on to tell them that everyone who got a quest got them from an outside source the mayor wasn't involved with. Sawyer then says to Hannah:
Sawyer: "And since I know you're going to resolve this matter on your own terms no matter what I say, just do one thing for me please... don't kill everybody and run our streets red with blood."
Then he changes the subject and ask how she's been. She says not much, killed a troll. They share a laugh over it then get awkward over the sudden intimacy. Then he lets her go saying he's glad she made it out alive and to try and keep things peaceful with the merchants guild.
We then cut to Betty arriving at a house holding a bunch of flowers. Faeyri opens the door, and they have a chat. Faeryi tells her she was having a great time until her friend who can't take a joke showed up. Betty apologises. Faeryi says she's "moved on from the crazy, bar brawling era of my life". She just doesn't want the extra drama in her life and she kisses Betty saying "When you understand what I mean, I'll be around". She shuts the door and Betty leaves sadly.
Dee then asks what they could offer, he tells them there would be a connection to the sea trade, foreign markets and absolute loyalty and funding for an expansion of business or simple maintenance "at very reasonable rates". Betty grabs him and says his rates are too high. When he says he hadn't given them any numbers, Betty says he's not willing to negociate, so she and Dee leave. As they do do, Betty jumps on Dee's back and Dee tell her, "Betty, you are by far the strangest Smidgen I've ever met."
Violet is busy hacking up training dummies when a red bearded dwarf comes up and tells her that her form is "sloppy". When she tell him it's good enough for killing monsters he says that's "disappointing". Violet snaps she's finding meaning in her life and how did he find her? He says "you've been on this foolish journey of self discovery long enough". He wants to know where her beard is, where is her respect for tradition? Then they get into a sword fight with each other.
|Violet takes on her brother.|
Violet: "Oh... you know... just the most important person in my life... Barrie Blackforge... my twin brother".
They all get together round a table to discuss what they discovered at the merchant's guild. Betty says it wasn't them who ordered the killings.
She says from the seawater stains on his scroll he had only arrived back this morning. His Jade charm is super-rare, found a two week journey away. He'd stopped wearing his wedding ring recently. The window in his office is trapped, impossible to disarm, from the outside, "even for me". And behind his painting he has something secret hidden.
Dee says so the head merchant was away when this happened, but what did the wedding ring thing mean? Betty says he was just sad, "people can get so lost sometimes". Hannah wants to know how they'll get into his trapped office, and fortunately Betty swiped the key as they left.
Later that night she sneaks into the merchants office. She opens a secret cupboard to fnd a bunch of contracts. She find one for Bernadette who owns the store they smashed up and has had to take out a large loan to cover it. Betty muses that "us Queens are kinda sorta responsible for that fifty gold loan". She leaves the merchants guild and arriving at Bernadette's shop she is attacked by an assassin who Bernadette commands "that you kill them to fucking death this time. You can start with her".
|Sawyer has mysterious past, ooooh.|
Betty is beaten up, falling at the feet of Sawyer. Bernadette shouts at him saying, "If you'd just...done your job Sawyer! This wouldn't have been necessary". Sawyer draws his sword and cuts down the assassin who recognises him from the past. Betty says that was amazing. "Now you know why I'm captain of the guard" says Sawyer. He arrests Bernadette, and Betty says she'll keep his secret regarding the assassin knowing him. Betty says "we've all got secrets, Sawyer believe it or not".
Bernadette starts ranting that people will not accept "the boorish antics of those despicable mercenaries forever". She says she's not the only one who's noticed the Rat Queen's criminal immunity. She says she gives two shits about the town as it's destroyed around them. Her arrest will be a rallying cry and her store will stand "proud and strong". Then something large lands on the three of them.
They stand and Betty says the Rat Queens "had nothing to do with that random sky ball". Sawyer asks a guard what's happening. Palisade is under attack, "something about blood vengeance against the Rat Queens". Sawyer points his sword at Bernadette and says he can find her wherever she runs to. The rest of the Rat Queens arrive on the scene and Betty fills them in.
|A troll comes to Palisade.|
Violet says they are a threat to the town, she says she is going to face the troll "do something good for a change". Then Braga appears and says, "Orcs only know one language. Blood. I'm the fucking alphabet." Violet says that's a great line. Braga grabs Betty to watch her back. Then leading the charge she rushes out and starts hacking orcs up. They recognise her and two of them says "It's her... we're fucked."
A lengthy and bloody battle commences, limbs are chopped offf, heads removed, orcs are peppered with arrows. But sheer numbers of orcs starts to wear them down and Violet takes a blade to the gut. Hannah uses a spell to clear the immediate area but more swarm in. Then the troll hurls a boulder at the town walls and creates a hole. But then help arrives in the form of The Four Daves. "Ready to die honourably?" says their leader.
As the fighting carries on Bernadette starts to pack to leave town. The head merchant finds her and says she told him "this assassination silliness" wouldn't come back to him and he loaned her the gold in good faith. She says it had "nothing to do with you Gerrig". But Gerrig says he is calling in his debt and grabs her by the throat.
|Things are looking bleak...|
Betty pleads for someone to save her friends. One of the Daves picks Violet up and carries her away. With Braga still enthuiastically killing and the help of the rest of the Daves the orcs break and begin to flee. Hannah is facing down the troll alone. The troll brings down her club, Hannah uses her wands to cast a spell. It causes the club to reverse direction and smack the troll in the face. With the troll downed she casts another spell that explodes messily. Then Betty comes and gets her saying it's over.
Braga tells one of the Daves he's sexy when he's killing stuff. He responds "I think you take the sexy killing cake, Braga. Damn". Braga then tells Hannah she did nice work on the troll. Hannah says she had it coming "no one calls my friends cunts but me".
Later at their house, Violet is in bed. Dee says they used every drop of healing on her. Hannah thanks Dave for helping get her to safety. She notes he has bluebirds in his beard.
Dave: "Yeah, I know. Happens whenever I heal someone. Pops called 'em the buebirds of healing, my beard is their magical home".
Dee decides she is going after Bernadette and Hannah says she'll come. Betty says they shouldn't and Sawyer said he'd handle it. But Hannah and Dee want revenge. Violet then comes too, "nothing like a brush with death to... make you realise what you really want..." And what she wants is for them to leave Bernadette alone and second she wants a party tonight, she wants to get drunk and high and have sex with orc Dave. "They can happen in any order or all at once" she says.
|But they won so partay!!|
So that night they have a big party. Violet ponders regrowing her beard. Dee is hiding behind a book. Hannah and her friend are playing around with a magical bong and Betty is serving cocktails. Faeryi appears and holding Betty's chin, smiles and asks her to "show me what you got." Violet is snogging Dave with the bluebirds in his beard. She says he's hers tonight, he asks if she should get rid of the birds, she says no and "shut up and let's go."
Sawyer shows up to talk to Hannah. He says they checked Bernadette's place and found all the evidence they needed. But she has disappeared and he doesn't think it was by choice, "sorry you aren't going to get the resolution you're hoping for". Hannah then asks if they can get drunk until they puke for old times sake?
The book then ends with a flashback of Dee leaving her devout family and then back in the present with Gerrig giving a speech to a bound and gagged Bernadette. He says he's been traveling the world in search of an answer to the suffering inside him. An emptiness his wife filled before she was taken from him. He's found something, now he needs to understand it. Bernadette is going to help. He wants to practice everything so the person who took her from him suffers as he's suffered, "Sawyer Silver will regret the day he murdered my wife".
|Dee's departure and discovery of a mysterious document connected to it.|