Almott Ticking-Mind

A psychic gnome on a quest, hindered only by his imagination, his determination, and Tourette's syndrome.


== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ==
Almott, level 5
Gnome, Psion
Discipline Focus: Telepathy Focus
Background: Scion of an Ancient Bloodline

Str 12, Con 13, Dex 13, Int 22, Wis 16, Cha 18.

Str 12, Con 13, Dex 13, Int 19, Wis 15, Cha 16.

AC: 19 Fort: 13 Reflex: 18 Will: 18
HP: 41 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 10

Arcana +15, Insight +10, History +16, Diplomacy +13

Acrobatics +3, Bluff +6, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +3, Heal +5, Intimidate +6, Nature +5, Perception +5, Religion +8, Stealth +5, Streetwise +6, Thievery +3, Athletics +3

Psion: Ritual Caster
Level 1: Precise Mind
Level 2: Linguist
Level 4: Get in Your Head
Feat User Choice: Mark of Scribing

Power User Choice: Web
Psion at-will 1: Dishearten
Psion at-will 1: Dimensional Scramble
Psion daily 1: Living Missile
Psion utility 2: Legend Lore
Psion at-will 3: Betrayal
Psion daily 5: Hypnotic Pulse

Adventurer’s Kit, Climber’s Kit, Staff Implement, Orb of Unfailing Concentration +1, Repulsion Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +1


=Two Days Ago=

Almott flung the doors to his closet wide open. “Where the CRUMBLING BARRICADE are my graduation gifts!?”

=Three Weeks Ago=


The figure under the bed sheets shuffled tiredly. Sun filtered in through the ripples of the sole window in the room, gently illuminating a mess of empty brown bottles scattered across the floor. A simple brass alarm clock ticked away on a nightstand, attended only by an upright diploma case and several discarded clothes.



The figure shuffled again, only moderately more animated. A stubby hand reached out and carefully grabbed at a pillow that was perched precariously on the edge of the mattress. The pillow was dragged under the depths of the sheets, like a predator dragging a kill back to its lair.

Whether the pillow was meant to encourage exhaustion or to smother the morning’s pains remained unclear.


“Urrggmnh,” moaned the bed sheet predator. “Shut up, already.”

{Almott, get up.}

“Just… just WAXING shut up, I’ve got this GALLAVANTING hangover like you wouldn’t believe…”

{Almott, dammit, this is NOT the time-}

“I mean seriously, if I’m going to catch SILVERWARE for missing the family reunion sixth years running, I’d like to at least not have a FLUFFY headache-”

{Almott, almost everyone who was at the family reunion is now dead.}

=Evening, Two Days Ago=

Various articles of clothing and shiny doodads flew out of the closet as if enchanted, rather than merely thrown haphazardly by a panicked gnome on a mission.

{Weeabin, have you seen my graduation presents!?} Almott called through a mental link. {I’m looking for the ones from Uncle Dabblekin.}

{Naw, haven’t seen ’em since they got put in storage, desu.}

{Ugh, you’re so YODELING useless.}

{Hey, that’s not very nice, desu~…}

{Shut up, Weeabin.}

Almott rocked back on his heels, arms folded. “Where the CANKER SORE are my graduation gifts!?” he grumbled.

=Two Weeks Ago=

“And here, we lay to rest our dearly beloved, some fifty-three BLISTERING members of the Ticking Mind clan…”

Almott stood before row after row of his weeping clan members, and stood ahead of row after row of gnome-sized coffins. His face, already showing signs of wear from a week of learning and assuming his duties as governor of Briarshire, was even more somber and grave for the occasion.

It was also raining, and the ceremonial robes he had been provided did absolutely nothing to keep him dry or warm. Almott observed his remaining clan members and their personal rain shields glumly.

“Sleep spells,” he continued, "are a necessity in any community with a high population of psions, and Briarshire is no exception. I’m sure many of you here are familiar with the Ticking Mind’s tradition of employing a multitude of the enchantments for their bi-annual family reunions.

“But even the most non-lethal of spells can be deadly when in careless hands, or worse, careless minds. Let us never forget that it was a slip, a fumble of the mental capacities, that led to this tragedy… a truly accidental calamity.”

“And now we ask for the Raven Queen’s favor in guiding their lost souls…”

The rain continued to pour down over the weeping crowd.

Almott sneezed.

=Yesterday Morning=


Almott was already out of his room and running. {Great!} he called back excitedly, {Where did you find the stupid little COATHANGER!?}

{Auntie Emerald had-}

{That’s Auntie Esmeralda, Sydney.}

{Whatever!} Almott got the impression that his cousin had stuck her tongue out at him. {And it’s Syddna!}

{Anyways,} she continued, {Auntie tucked it away in her cabinet of ceremonial teaware… I remembered she had said it would look great among all her crystal china.}

{I… guess I can’t argue with that,} Almott admitted. {So you’re at her place now?}

{No, I picked it up. I’m heading towards the mansion right now – should I meet you at Javelin’s?}

{That’s “Javyan’s,” Sydney.}


Almott chuckled to himself and grabbed his coat off the rack as he passed it. {I’ll see you there, cuz. Well, if nothing else tries to EMBROIDER my day.}

=Ten Days Ago=

“Woof woof!”

Almott smiled absently down at the floor, where his little brother had snuck up on him. “Hey there, Glent.” The gnome ran a hand through his hair, then rubbed the exhaustion out of his face. “You doing okay at home?”

Glent nodded, then stood up and examined the papers scattered all across his sibling’s desk. “Woof?” he asked innocently. {What are all these for, big bro?}

Waving one arm in a broad sweeping gesture, Almott began to recite his duties automatically. “As the next in line to inherit the position of governor of Briarshire, due to being one of the few, as well as oldest remaining member of the Ticking Mind clan, I automatically assume all duties until such time that a suitable replacement can be found, or I attain the necessary credentials to be properly appointed for the mantle of governor.” He paused, then added, “CHEESEWHEEL.”

His little brother nodded solemnly, then looked Almott in the eyes and asked, {But… what does all that mean?}

Almott sighed. “It means I’m stuck with all the MILKING work until the elders say otherwise.”

“Woof woof,” Glent acknowledged. Then: {But is that what you want?}

Almott simply stared at his desk. “…I don’t know, Glent. I just don’t JUMPING know.”

=Yesterday Afternoon=



Almott crashed into a younger-looking female gnome, hugging her and laughing uproariously, the female giggling back. The other patrons of the outdoor cafe gave the pair a wide berth and not a few stern looks.

After a minute or two of furious reuniting, the two finally calmed down and grinned at each other. “That’s not my name,” Almott chided teasingly.

“Whatever!” Sydney retorted, but reached in for another hug. “How’s my favorite cousin doing?”

“We’re second cousins.”


The pair settled down and sat at the shaded table that Sydney had reserved. A waiter paused nearby at a respectful distance, but Sydney and Almott both waved him off. “I’m doing alright,” Almott admitted. “PILEDRIVERS better than the last time you saw me. But I could be even better if I had a certain FIDDLING graduation gift in my hands, hint hint.”

Sydney merely chuckled at him. “A little eager, aren’t we?” But she was already reaching into her purse. “Nary a scratch,” she commented, her hands slowly disappearing into the enchanted depths of the accessory, “even when resting on the sharpest little pedestal I had ever laid eyes on – stupid thing even scratched me as I was removing your gift.”

“What, did the orb scratch you?” Almott asked, rolling his eyes. “And quit with the dramatic reveal, already!”

Sydney stuck her tongue out at her cousin. “I thought you minored in Adventuring? You should have a better appreciation for melodrama!” However, she stopped teasing and drew her hands out of the purse, prize in tow.

=One Week Ago=

Almott scribbled aimlessly in the corner of the parchment. The scratching of the quill on the paper almost served as a substitute for his end of the conversation.

Not that it was necessary that he respond to begin with.

“We feel that it is necessary that these repairs be halted for…”
“There is no REAson for the schools to have…”
“I’m sure you can see that it is absolutely reasonable that we…”
“Is it possible that the streets be cleaned of the riff-raff that…”
“Have you heard about this latest fad among the young, it is unfathomably…”

The worst part of this debacle, Almott thought for the umpteenth time, is that somehow not one of these old fogeys had a VERBAL tic to at least make the meeting interesting. It was only interesting to watch them roll their shoulders and flail their hands every other sentence for the first fifteen minutes – the meeting had now been going on now for over two hours.

Scritch scritch.

“Perhaps it would be wise to consider the facts regarding this rumor of…”
“The Council of Elders would like to avoid letting these ruffians have their way in the near…”

Scritch scritch scritch.

“Dear Governor,” interjected one of the Elders suddenly, peering in and adjusting his glasses, “are you even paying attention to this conference?” The Elder adjusted his cloak and stood up as straight as his stooped back would allow. “If you truly intend to assume the role of Governor at your tender age, we fully expect that you would be able to at least withstand the full responsibility of the position.”

“Oh of course, honored Elder,” Almott murmured. “I have been paying attention this entire FLIRTING time. However I was always taught to listen to my elders, and was merely waiting for you to DROOLING finish with your discourse before responding with my own opinions.”

“Ah, I see, I see.” The Elder nodded, mollified, and the other Elders followed suit, forming a line of undulating, wrinkly heads.

Almott’s eyebrows twitched.

Scritch scritch scritch.

=Yesterday Afternoon, Still=

The crystal orb glittered faintly as it emerged into the afternoon daylight. Almott could almost spot the shadow of a green spark as he re-imprinted the implement to his psionic pattern. The orb filled familiar neural pathways with its signature silver energy in a rush of sensations, almost as if it was as glad to be back with its owner as Almott was to bond with it again.

Almott smiled at the orb fondly.

“Careful, cousin,” Sydney drawled, adjusting her grip on the orb. “Your lights are showing.”

He glanced down. Sure enough, there were halos of green light softly illuminating each of his tunic sleeves. “Huh. So they are.” The pair watched in silence as the halos gently spun out of existence, dissipating into a shower of emerald sparkles.

“Are you sure about this?” Sydney asked quietly. “You don’t need to prove yourself to anybody, you know. Even if the Council doesn’t believe you’ll make a good Governor, the clan and I do.”

Almott shook his head, and grinned wryly. “Nope, can’t do that. If I can’t gain the respect of a KETTLEDRUM of old FLIGHTLESS cooters, how can I expect to earn the respect of an entire BOUNCING shire?” He reached over to retrieve the crystal orb from his cousin’s hands. “AARDVARKS, I barely respect myself.”

Sydney handed over the prize with no resistance. “But there’s other ways to gain standing with the community, Almond!” she cried.


WHATEVER!” She jabbed an accusing finger at him and sputtered, “There are other ways! Like… community service, or a publicity campaign, or… or just paying the stupid cods exorbitant amounts of gold!” Sydney stared Almott in the eyes pleadingly, undeterred by his guarded smile. “You don’t have to be an adventurer!”

=Three Days Ago=

“So, I have to be a BLISTERING adventurer.”

Sydney sprayed her tea across the tray and immediately began coughing and hacking. The ever present waiter immediately swooped in and began to alternatingly wipe the table down and stacking the various dishes to be replaced. Almott merely stood by and waited for her coughing fits to subside.

Finally, her lungs cleared of tea, Sydney sputtered, “What?! Why?!!”

Almott sighed, and scratched the back of his head idly. "I’m… Argh, just… just TERRIERS, I can’t get any GARDENING respect from the old coots. So, yesterday I finally snapped and told the lot that they could go SERENADE themselves if they didn’t give me the CHOKING respect my position was due.

“Needless to say, words were said, and now in order to, uh, ‘prove’ once and for all that I’m worth the SEALSKIN I spout…” Almott took a deep breath. “I’m now on a quest to retrieve the legendary Headband of Intellect.”

Sydney blinked at him. “The what?”

Almott blanched. “You know,” he pressed, suppressing how silly he now felt, “the Headband of Intellect. It used to be one of the symbols of office for the Governor?”

Sydney thought for a moment, then shook her head. “Nope, doesn’t ring a bell – I don’t recall any of our Governors wearing a headband.”

“Well of COURSE they haven’t FIDDLING worn the CLAPPING headband!” Almott exploded. “It was only STOLEN by a bunch of SHAKING COTTON GINS some five hundred BOILING years ago!”

This time, Sydney raised an eyebrow AND blinked at him. “Stolen by a bunch of what-now?”

Almott nearly slammed his head into the table. Instead, he merely hid his face in both his hands and attempted to calm down. “The Blood-Steel Orc raiders,” he mumbled faintly. “Just… they were a bunch of bad SOPRANOS. They managed to stumble upon and raid our shire once, and snagged the Headband as a prize.”

“Oh.” Sydney nodded, clearly feigning understanding, then hissed, “Can we… can we go back to the bit where you’re going to take up ADVENTURING!?”

=One Very Loud Shouting Match and Some Very Convincing Arguments Later=

“Fine!” Sydney snarled. “But I don’t have to like it!” She rushed forward and hugged the breath out of Almott.

Almott squeaked.

“Stupid Almond,” Sydney mumbled into her cousin’s shirt, ignoring his unvocalised pleas for air. “Stupid Council. Stupid Headband. Stupid Broad-Steed Oaks.” With each grumble, her grip let up ever so slightly, until the gnome could finally replenish his supply of oxygen.

“That’s Blood-Steel Orcs,” Almott gasped, now conscious enough to pathetically flail his arms in hopes of prying his cousin off.

“Whatever,” he heard muffled into his shirt. She didn’t even budge.

=Morning, Present Day=

“Are you sure you’ve got everything you need?”

Almott sighed, and said in that sing-song tone of someone who has answered the same question too many times: “Yes, I’ve got everything.”

The pair were standing together at the Teleportation Station. Almott was dressed up in his best robes, backpack at his feet, and holding a small arcane ticket stub. Nearby, the stationmaster looked on patiently, holding a scroll.

Sydney fidgeted, hands rubbing together. “Are you absolutely certain? You’ve got your orb? Your rations? Your waterskins? Your-”

“Sydney,” Almott interrupted, smiling, “Your lights are showing.” His cousin looked down and saw that her fingernails were glowing cerulean. What she couldn’t see was that her hair was swimming in sparkling, cerulean stars. Sydney laughed nervously.

“I… I guess I just don’t want to say goodbye,” she admitted. She wiped a tear from one eye. “Just… ’port me a scroll every so often, okay?”

“I promise I’ll write as often as I can,” said Almott earnestly then stepped forward to wrap her in one last hug.

Sydney squeezed him back, then stepped backwards and smiled wanly. “Have a safe trip,” she whispered.

“Hey, no problem,” Almott grinned. Then he turned towards the stationmaster. “Okay guy, I’m ready to… what’s that in your hand?”

The stationmaster held up a bottle of mead, and hiccupped. “Oh, this?” he slurred. “Just my breakfast.”

Almott and Sydney both blanched. “Wait, what-” Almott began to shout, and then everything went white.

=Late Evening, Present Day=

A crackle of energy exploded in a moist back alley of the city of Phoenix, some three hundred miles South of the target teleport destination. When the energy cleared, a quivering gnome emerged into the darkness.

“are you HOWLING- aw, LARYNX, I’m… here?” Almott looked around. “What on- VENISON, how is it already night? And where the EUPHONIUM am-”


Almott looked down. Crowded around a puddle in the corner of the alley was a small gang of ducks, a motley collection of mallards. The ducks stared back at the gnome. Almott waved. “Hi?” he ventured.

The ducks proffered a wing. Held delicately between the tips of its pinions was a lit blunt, smoke lightly drifting towards the star-lit sky.

“Quack?” it offered.

Almott Ticking-Mind

Dwanya's Request Kosine