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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hell's Belles Episode 2

You can watch this episode right here.

They are playing through a classic Planescape adventure, The Great Modron March, converted to 5th edition.

The Party

DM Mazz

(Shauna) Levity - Tiefling Monk linked to Glasya
(Chloe Christine) Lyra - Tiefling Paladin
(Hadeel) Miga - Tiefling Rogue an urchin who lives by the sea
(Holly Conrad) Durge - Tiefling Bard college of whispers, member of the Dustmen
(Lysa Chen) Mercy - Tiefling Shadow sorcerer from Ravenloft
(TK Johnson) Gille - Tiefling Paladin
(KaylaPentar - Tiefling linked to Zuggtmoy

A month has passed since the last episode. The group is living in the office building in the Clerk's Ward. S3-4N is folding laundry... packets..!

Gille is writing letters to his father. Durge is outside handing out True Death pamphlets to people on the streets of Sigil.

Lira has a dream - a message from her god. She's being directed to go to Arcadia.

The group makes their way through a portal to Arcadai. They bring S3-4N along. Miga wants him to dig in the sand. He does so, with his fork hand. They put mushrooms on him. Because she likes to clean things, Mercy polishes it off. This kind of thing happens every day, we are told.

Gille is sort of wondering why Miga, who is a little kid, is even with the group. She's an orphan, so the group has taken pity on her.

They dig up a treasure - a piece of cheese. Miga takes a bite. She makes her Con save. Pentar, a fungus enthusiast,  eats the whole thing.

Lyra leads the group toward a mountain. It is Mount Clangeddin - where the dwarven gods of battle live. Lyra pushes open a set of doors.

The group explores a bit and are attacked by two metallic snakes.  One snake bites Mercy and does 9 damage to her. Gille is bit - he's poisoned and confused.

S3-4N does a cool 5 damage with the fork. S34N actually kills one, which is awesome. Durge kills the other one, stabbing it through the head, Australian Outback style.

The group explores a bit and comes to a square room with levers on the walls. Levity pulls two levers, and a door slides open. Beyond it, there's a figure lying on the floor. It's a black dragonborn. He ate a mushroom and he got here... this is Pentar's doing.

Down a corridor is a marble arch. There's a pedestal with a crystal sphere on it.

They find a bunch of bones, and up ahead they see a shimmering mithral tankard. There are joyous dwarven faces carved on it. Levity approaches it - she can sense a magic aura around it.

After some study, Levity realizes that speaking a command word fills it with dwarven ale. It's basically an endless mug of ale. Perfect for Levity, who is a drunken master monk.

Lyra feels drawn to a nearby bowl. She senses that her god wants to talk to her through it.

S3-4N is walking around, on snake patrol. He looks up and starts poking at the bones. "What is dead?", he asks Durge. Durge enthusiastically explains that dead means "deactivated."

He asks Miga if she will deactivate. "No, probably not." He perks up and nods.

Lyra has a vision - she sees eyes in darkness. Her god tells her that it is impossible to divine the future. Soon, she will see nothing and will be nothing. This has something to do with Mercy.

Gille pulls Lyra aside and tells her that they are in a temple of Selune. Lyra thinks it was Savras who contacted her. Savras is a god of divination who sees all and knows all. He's often worshiped by spellcasters, and his symbol is a circle full of eyes.

Lyra is confused - she doesn't want to be linked to Savras. Lyra says she was an urchin as a child. Gille is a bit put off, coming from a noble family and everything.

Miga made a drawing with crayons. Hadeel did this in real life with real crayons. Her hands are dirty. She asks Mercy to clean them. Mercy enthusiastically does so, with prestidigitation.

That's where we stop! 

TK requests fan art of S3-4N fighting a burning snake.

Heyy! They gave me a shout out at the end! Sheesh, how lucky am I?


Fun show! Looking forward to seeing the group deal with a horde of modrons in the coming weeks. Levity with a mug of endless ale should be quite amusing.

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 3

Rivals of Waterdeep - Episode 3: “Hide and Seek”

This episode is available on Youtube and as a podcast.

Aram Vartian - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashborne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Carlos Luna) Nocnoc - Half-Orc Fighter
(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer

The party are on the High Road, one day out from Waterdeep. Last time, they learned about a treasure that could buy Nightstone’s freedom from the curse left by Graz'zt. In the intro, the brass cube that Graz’zt’s cambion children both want used the art for a cubic gate. Curiouser and curiouser!

The Waterdhavian scout that is escorting the party is named Roland Holbrook. He is in love with a noblewoman, but doesn’t think he has much of a chance. Ashbourne says she could Cyrano de Bergerac it for him, but he politely declines.

Shaka checks in on Melody, the mayor of Nightstone, who is making note of her contacts in Waterdeep. She has a cousin who owns a hotel known as The Jade Rose, and she can probably set up a suite for them there.

As they continue traveling, Perrin spots a group of sixteen wood elves flanking the road ahead. Nocnoc recognizes them as his graduating class. Liatha, Nocnoc’s instructor at the academy, steps forward and says that the elders foresaw that he would not return from his last mission, but would find another calling in the process. She is here to deliver him a Dragonbane Arrow and a magical dart that can return to his hand after being thrown. These are the first presents Nocnoc has ever been given, and he feels like he’s experiencing every uncelebrated birthday all at once.

A bright red flare streaks across the sky, and Roland takes off towards it. Nocnoc recognizes this as a signal that something wrong is happening. Suddenly, a scream emanates out of Selise’s bag--it came from the Burn Book. A bookmark appeared on a page indicating a cabin just off the highway. They go to check it out.

Rinn and Selise knock on the door, and are let in by a guy who looks like an older version of the image in the Burn Book. He introduces himself as Naral, and welcomes them in. There’s a creepy boy drawing gaping mouths over and over again on a piece of paper. Rinn says “There’s something not right about that boy,” the father shoots him a look, “He seems really nice.” As they’re sneaking around the outside of the cabin, Nocnoc and Ashbourne see that there are two decapitated cats under the house.

Naral says that his son, Jeremy, witnessed his mother being murdered years ago when their caravan was attacked. Selise asks if she can try and help the boy. As she attempts to lay on hands him, Jeremy glares and grabs her hand. Selise sees an older Jeremy with his hands wrapped around her throat. Jeremy’s father scolds him, while Selise warns Naral that the things his son experienced affected him deeply. Selise and Rinn (amazingly!) give the father six gold--a huge amount--to help and support the boy! Naral asks if Selise can put in a word with the church in Waterdeep, as he’s been trying to petition them for aid for years with no reply.

Nocnoc leaves a mark near the house for his elven brothers, asking that they watch over this place. Aram gives him inspiration!

Roland returns and says that it was evidently a false alarm.

The party reach a large bridge over the Dessarin River. A scout on a griffin soars overhead and Roland salutes him. Ashbourne asks Roland if they have classes for that kind of thing, and the scout tells them that security at this checkpoint has been bumped up since they received word of what happened at Nightstone.

Two paladins of Lathander approach and make sure the party is on the up-and-up. They stop at Shaka and draw their swords, telling him to remove his hat. He does, revealing his horns, and the guards point out that “the touch of the demonic” is upon him. A woman with a black staff asks if she can search Shaka’s thoughts and make sure he is not in league with Graz’zt. Shaka notes that this is a violation of his rights, while Selise points out how unjust this is. Perrin offers to “take care of” the guards, but they give him a “Don’t even think about it” look. The wizard apologizes and starts probing Shaka’s thoughts. He realizes that she is going to find out about his patron and brings to the forefront of his mind the moment when he got his white robes--a very emotional point in his life, as he had worn nothing but tattered clothing up to that point. Suddenly... Shaka is standing alone on the road.

He turns to see a goldfish in a bowl sitting on a pedestal. Shaka realizes that the goldfish is his patron! Shaka can see the woman sifting through his thoughts, but this part of his mind has been cordoned off by a bubble. The goldfish leaps, and a large wave overcomes Shaka, burning his eyes. He sees in a puddle that his eyes fade to a smoky gray--he is now able to see in complete darkness! It would be absolutely hilarious if the Xanathar's goldfish, Sylgar, turned out to be Shaka's "Great Old One" patron.

The woman finishes and they are allowed through the checkpoint. The sun sets by the time the party reach Waterdeep.

Roland escorts them to the office of Laeral Silverhand, the Open Lord of Waterdeep. They fill her in on what happened. Laeral says that she believes there is a reason that they are involved in this matter, and gives them maps of Waterdeep and the chambers beneath it (including Skullport) before dismissing them. They are let out into the South Ward--a melting pot and hub for travelers. Mayor Melody takes them to The Jade Rose before everyone splits up and goes to one of the three nearby taverns.

At Gildrof’s Tavern, Selise and Nocnoc meet Gildrof, a female cloud giant behind the bar! Wow! Nocnoc feels like he’s in the giant’s dollhouse, and can tell that she’s absolutely thrilled to be socializing with these tiny little people. Gildrof is a follower of Lliira! She is amazed when Selise tells her about meeting an avatar of Our Lady of Joy. Nocnoc gets a t-shirt with Gildrof’s face on it, as well as a souvenir mug.

Shaka and Perrin head to the Rusty Nail, a known meeting place for the unsavory. The bouncer is intimidated by Perrin to let them in--he has a phobia of short people! Shaka buys Perrin a drink as thanks for getting them in. They learn that there’s a gang war brewing between the Zhentarim and the Xanathar’s Guild over the dragon hoard. The hoard once belonged to a lord who put all memories of the treasure’s location into a magical stone. The word ‘Golorr’ stands out to them as the only clue.

Ashbourne and Rinn go to a gambling hall called The Lucky Duck. There are three games: one with dice called Tymora’s Luck; one with cards called Abbathor’s Gambit; and one called the Run of Mersif (or Run of Luck when translated from Dwarvish) that involves lizards racing each other through a maze (tonight’s lizards are Pitterpatter, Fleetfeet, Flyswatter, Zoobers, and Tiny Dragon). They decide to check out Abbathor’s Gambit, which has a high-rollers table where people bet magic items instead of gold. Winner takes all. Rinn bets his staff. Rinn gets a 10 on his roll... his opponent gets a 13. OOF! The winner, an elf named Zor, says that he’ll return the staff if Ashbourne and Rinn tell him why they’re here. Ashbourne says they’re investigating crimes. Zor gives Rinn appraising eyes as he hands the sorcerer back his staff.

The party reunite. A kid throws a rock at them and runs off--Nocnoc, Ashbourne, and Rinn chase after him. They turn a corner and a half-orc archer on a rooftop fires an arrow into each of them. Rinn hits the half-orc with his crossbow, but the guy doesn’t even register the bolt through his leg as he starts to line up another shot. Nocnoc starts climbing the building and tosses his magic dart, piercing their assailant through the forearm. The rest of the party arrives. The half-orc sees this and sprints away over the rooftops. They try to give chase, but he’s gone!

Wondering who the heck the guy who ambushed them was, the party return to The Jade Rose, and Melody tells them that she was able to set up the meeting with Mirt the Moneylender for tomorrow morning.  If you want to watch Episode 4 where that happens, it’s already out!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Riddle of the Raven Queen

A few new DMs Guild adventures came out in the past month and I'll be running all of them on my Twitch channel. Last night, I finished running the first of these - The Riddle of the Raven Queen.

The Raven Queen has always been mega-popular, so I think it was a good idea to make this. Fun fact: The Guide to the Raven Queen I wrote years ago still gets read all the time. I think it's because of Critical Role.

So, what's this adventure about? Is it good?

The Story: An elven settlement has been getting attacked by bands of drow. An important member of the community, the Starsinger, has been abducted. The heroes need to get the Starsinger back.

The heroes look for clues and track the drow back to their lair in the forest. But they don't find the Starsinger - they find a shadar kai.

The shadar kai explains that his people abducted the Starsinger because the Raven Queen wants to bask in her sorrow (the Starsinger's family was recently killed). The shadar kai helps the group get to the Shadowfell.

There, the group must navigate the village of Broken Dreams, pass some tests, and then go deal with some agents of Vecna. Once the agents of Vecna are dealt with, the raven Queen will hand over the Starsinger.

The beginning was OK. When preparing this section, I had a bit of a hard time understanding why the Starsinger was so important to anyone. The elven village was pretty interesting.

The drow lair was fun enough. The entrance guardians were very cool, and I liked the room with the cells in it. My group actually walked into the drow barracks. Just opened the door! A dozen drow got ready to attack, but one hero quickly used magic to collapse the ceiling on them.

That worked out good for me, because when running a streaming game, I don't like too many fights/drawn out fights. A battle against 12 drow felt like a waste of time to me. We had two hours total, and I wanted to finish chapter two by the end of the session, so the collapse was perfect.

The idea for the collapse partially came about because the adventure does a great job of making each locale unique - much is made of the low earthen ceiling in the drow lair.

Once the shadar kai is rescued, he can get the group to the Shadowfell. I'd have liked a bit more detail on the ritual.

Then we get to chapter three - the Village of Broken Dreams. I LOVE this chapter. We are given about 5 small encounters in the streets, and three tests that the Raven Queen puts the group through.

The Curse of the Evergloom: Every hour, each hero must make a saving throw against the evergloom of the Shadowfell. If you fail, you lose one trait: A bond, flaw, or ideal!

I love that so much. Bonds and flaws are things that don't come into play much at all, but here, they're put to great use. The Shadowfell slowly steals away everything that makes your character who they are!

There is a way to block this: Touchstones. Characters can declare items as symbolic touchstones - things that represent who they are. For example, there's a character everyone calls "Mistletoe" in my group. He wears a crown of Mistletoe. He decided to make it a touchstone. As long as he has that touchstone, the Shadowfell cannot steal his bond from him. Each character can have four touchstones, with one representing a flaw, bond, trait, etc.

Touchstones have value because of this! People will try to steal them! The Raven Queen might even want them.

What was most amusing was that there's two heroes in my group - Ramrod and Asana. They have a budding relationship that the group likes to call: "AssRod." They declared each other as a touchstone. So then, if Ramrod was abducted somehow, Asana lost a touchstone and the Evergloom could potentially steal a trait away from him.

I love this whole idea so much. It worked great!

How to Win D&D: One mini encounter here involves an old lady's shop. I decided to use it to "win" D&D. How?

The group has been trolling me about shiftspice, a rare githzerai magic spice that I keep saying only comes in elaborate containers, but the players insist that it comes in "flavor packets".

I decided that in this store was a container of shadowspice - a spice that loses its magic properties if not in a glass container! It literally can not come in a flavor packet!

I gleefully rolled this idea out. At last! No more flavor packets! At least, not for shadowspice!

Then Lindy, who plays Asana says, "I have a glassblowing kit." No. No! It can't be!

She really did! The group was delighted. They could make glass flavor packets! How could this be?! Impossible, I say!

Anyway, the group went through the tests. Each test is meant to be tailored to the individual traits of the heroes, but I didn't do such a great job of it. Still, the encounters worked well enough.

The Raven Queen's speaker agreed to give the group the Starsinger if the group would retrieve a stolen mask.

The group was off to the lair of the Vecna cult. This is a tiny dungeon whose map was unlabeled for some reason. We were almost out of time so I removed some encounters. The final bad guy is a skull lord. The heroes were clever and able to cut a deal with him rather than have a big battle with him.

The heroes were successful and rescued the Starsinger! They were able to get back to the elven village. There, Ramrod surprised us all. He had written Asana a poem. I found it to be absolutely hilarious and now Asana and Ramrod are an official couple. They're a couple of classic characters, in my opinion, and I'm very much looking forward to running more stuff for this group in two weeks.

Overall: Chapter 3 is what makes this adventure good. It's definitely worth using if you're planning on having your group go to the Shadowfell for whatever reason.

This adventure most definitely needs an editing pass. I'm no stranger to typos and awkward phrasing, so I sympathize, but this book has a lot of little spots that need touching up.

I also think they should clarify the explanation as to how the group gets to the Vecna lair and the whole thing with the door to the fortress of sorrow. I didn't get it. Maybe that's just me.

So, it's not perfect, but the most important thing to me is good ideas, and this adventure definitely delivers in that department!

Here's the youtube videos of our playthrough. Part 1:

Part 2. In the final minute, Ramrod reads his poem. Best thing ever!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 2

Rivals of Waterdeep - Episode 2: “Hell to Pay”

You can watch this episode on Youtube, or listen to a podcast version!

The party are on the High Road, two days south of Waterdeep. We pick up right where Episode 1 left off.

Aram Vartian - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashborne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Carlos Luna) Nocnoc - Half-Orc Fighter
(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer

We start off with the dreams everyone is having during their long rest...

Selise is a lawyer. The judge declares her clients witches, and they are taken outside to be executed. Selise tries to intervene as they are cut down. One of Graz’zt’s cambions, Devonia, appears (she sounds like Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls), and gives Selise a tome with the words ‘BURN BOOK’ written on it. There’s 999 pages, each with a drawing of a person and the heinous crimes that they’ve gotten away with, as well as their location in Waterdeep.

Shaka puts the finishing touches on a map. Suddenly, the morning mists part, and a black tower rises before him. The tower is said to contain forbidden knowledge from across Faerun, including the true names of demons. Every morning at dawn, the tower moves to a new location. He runs into the mists, but loses his way. He runs into the other cambion, Corsan. Corsan tells Shaka that this is “a preview”, and offers the warlock a book that can answer any question asked IF he does him a favor--bring him a brass cube from the Dragon Hoard in Waterdeep.

Ashborne is playing hide-and-seek with her fox, Chips. She finds a bear over the body of Chips and loses her composure. She leaps onto the bear’s back and tears into it with her claw. The bear runs off, but it’s too late... Chips is gone. Devonia steps up and brings Chips back to life, and says that she can make it so that as long as Ashborne is alive, Chips will also be alive. She also offers to restore Ash’s mutated arm. All she needs to do is bring Devonia a copper box from the Dragon Hoard in Waterdeep. They pinky swear. Ash feels as Chips' heart begins to beat as one with her own.

Nocnoc finds himself at the tavern in Nightstone, and sneaks out the front door. He steps through... back into the tavern. He tries different doors, but it keeps happening, and when he tries to ask for help, nobody looks at him. Suddenly, everything goes dark. He says “Knock-knock”, and Corsan answers, “Who’s there?” Corsan shows him an army as it clear-cuts the forest where Nocnoc’s monastery is located. The soldiers attack the bubble around Nightstone, but as it pops, everything is destroyed. The cambion says it will only take two, maybe three months before human predictability leads to this outcome, but he gives Nocnoc divining rods to help the half-orc find enough gold to lift the curse before that. In return, Corsan wants a copper box from the Dragon Hoard. Uh-oh... Does anybody else smell the seeds of inter-party conflict being sown?

Rinn is an elf, so it is WEIRD seeing other people sleep. He pokes Selise and wakes her up, she grabs his hand. He just wanted to say hello. As Selise gets up, she feels the Burn Book beside her. She opens it and sees that there’s actually 1000 pages--the last one is “the person she’s been looking for”. I think that was entirely improv on Tanya’s part, and Aram said it’s 100% canon. Awesome!

Rinn begins his trance. He sees himself in a store with all sorts of cool stuff, but he has no money to buy any of it! He touches something and it turns to gold. He touches the shopkeep... BOOM, GOLD! Rinn freaks out as everyone and everything around him starts turning to gold. Devonia steps out and says she loves what he’s done with the place. If Rinn gets her the brass cube from the Dragon Hoard, she’ll let Rinn have all one million gold pieces given to free the people of Nightstone...

Perrin sleeps perfectly soundly. He’s never slept better in his life. His boss, Gundren, had a dream though, and it freaked him out. Everyone was fighting a dragon... everyone except for Perrin. The two cambions were there too. Gundren wants nothing to do with this, packs up his stuff, and leaves.

Lliira appears before Selise during her morning prayer, and says that there is a way to replace the good people of Nightstone with the bad people in the Burn Book using the map that Shaka drew last session (the map now has moving silver dots representing the townsfolk on it)! Everyone else wakes up just in time for breakfast, prepared by Perrin’s ‘Unseen Servant’. They discuss their troubled sleep, and the strange gifts offered to them by Corsan and Devonia.

Rinn lies and tells everyone that the demons offered to make it so he wouldn’t feel the compulsion to steal from other people anymore, but Perrin sees through it and gets the elf to tell him the real deal in private. Rinn offers to split the gold half-and-half with Perrin, and the halfling agrees to keep this secret between them.

On the road, they run into Waterdhavian scouts who ask them about Nightstone. They now have an escort the rest of the way to Waterdeep.

As they camp that night, hunters from Daggerford surround them, led by a lord who’s brother was sliced in half when the bubble around Nightstone appeared. They saw the party leaving the village and say that they’re arresting all of them. Perrin casts ‘Suggestion’ and convinces the lordling to leave them alone, but another archer realizes that the bard used magic on their boss and fires!

They fight off the attackers, who flee. The mayor of Nightstone is amazed at how well they work together as a team. Maybe they’ll actually be able to find this mysterious Dragon Hoard and save the people of her village from Graz’zt’s curse after all.

Aram mentioned that we’ll have one more episode before catching up with where the session at the Stream of Many Eyes (which, it turns out, is Episode 4) left off. So far, we’ve been going at a one in-game day per episode pace, and, given that the party have one day’s travel to Waterdeep still, that seems like it’ll be continuing.

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 1

Rivals of Waterdeep - Episode 1: “Deal with the Devil”

This is a prequel to their show at the Stream of Many Eyes (which can be seen here). The party is in Nightstone. They are all level 4.

Aram Vartian - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashborne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Carlos Luna) Nocnoc - Half-Orc Fighter
(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer
We start with Selise, who’s been having visions of Nightstone crumbling under a great darkness. She arrives at the Hall of Justice to meet with an old friend, Vera, to try and convince the church of Tyr to pay heed to her warnings. Vera can only offer a horse and a good word sent ahead to Waterdeep.

Rinn has been hired as the liaison between the human hunters of Nightstone and the elves of the Ardeep Woods. He meets Nocnoc while out on patrol. Rinn asks the half-orc how he got his name, but Nocnoc doesn’t trust him enough to tell that story. They suddenly hear bells ringing from the direction of Nightstone.

Sharavka (’Shaka’ for short) sits on a hill overlooking Nightstone. His warlock patron wants to know more about the mysterious obsidian obelisk for which the village is named. As he is planning a route to sneak into town later that night, Shaka realizes that there is no one on the streets below.

Ashborne stumbles upon Shaka. Her right hand is a claw, but she has been having dreams of herself with her old hand, standing in front of the obelisk in Nightstone. Ashborne is intrigued by Shaka’s map, but he doesn’t trust her. A fox kit named Chips pops out of her bag. Shaka starts crying because Chips is so adorable. They decide to team-up to study the obelisk together. They hear the bells as they descend the hill.

Perrin arrived as part of a traveling show run by Guthren Derthmore, an old dwarf strongman. He is admiring himself in a mirror, pumping himself up for the show in Nightstone, which he calls “suburban Waterdeep”. When he comes out to perform though, there’s no townsfolk. Guthren runs off towards the inn to try and drum up an audience. Perrin hears a guttural growl from behind him, and casts ‘Light’ to reveal... a hell hound!

Selise is galloping full-tilt towards the church, where the bells are coming from. Suddenly, there’s a girl in the middle of the road, and the paladin is thrown from her horse as she tries to stop. The girl raises her hand and Selise freezes in mid-air before slowly floating to the ground. The girl tells her that her “friends” are being hurt, and gives Selise a locket that surges with holy energy. The girl is an avatar of Lliira, the goddess of joy! She disappears.

Everyone converges on Perrin as he fends off the hell hound. Ashborne rolls a natural 1 and accidentally shoots an arrow into the back of Perrin’s leg, but it draws the creature’s attention. Shaka fires an ‘Eldritch Blast’ as it lopes toward them. NAT 20! Perrin casts ‘Shatter’, causing the hell hound to explode into fiery bits just as Selise, Rinn, and Nocnoc come around the corner. Selise heals Perrin. Lliira’s locket multiples on her neck--there’s one for everybody!

The bells stop.

There is a soft green glow coming from the obelisk. Two more hell hounds circle it. Ashborne tries to offer them jerky... THEY ATTACK! There’s a quick battle. Rinn hears faint music coming from the inn. Ashborne sees some kind of script etched onto the obelisk and reaches out to touch it. As she does, she sees a vision of a gargantuan form rising from the ocean--a Kraken! Slarkrethel?!

Rinn and Nocnoc rush to the inn. Every townsperson in Nightstone is inside, getting drunk! The mayor tells them that the party is for “him”--a hot dude in a loincloth who looks like Dorian Gray from Penny Dreadful. Nocnoc wishes him a happy birthday. The man laughs, and says it might as well be his birthday, because he can only be here once per year. Rinn asks him for gold, and the man produces a torrent of coins from his hands.

“You like gold? How much is enough?”


Graz’zt touches Lliira’s locket, and it burns him. Graz’zt’s smile disappears. Nocnoc feels a wave of terror and runs away, telling everyone that they have to leave right now. All the doors and windows slam shut. Graz’zt glares at them. He says that they’ve ruined his party, and storms out of the inn, down towards the obelisk.

Graz’zt shoves a claw into the stone, and it bursts with green light. An oily dome rises from the obelisk to cover the town. Graz’zt disappears. His two cambion bodyguards turn and smile at the party, saying that they’ve doomed the whole town (”1000 souls exactly”) to a century imprisoned here, all because they angered Graz’zt on the one day of the year that he could have a party on the Material Plane. The cambions tell them that for every 1000 gold they bring to Nightstone, Graz’zt will allow ONE soul to go free. THEY’LL NEED ONE MILLION GOLD TO FREE EVERYONE!

They have enough money to save one person. They choose the mayor. Her memory is fuzzy, and all she can remember is that a charming stranger came to town a few days ago. If the party really want to save everyone else, the demons point them to Waterdeep, which is a town where lots of money changes hands.

The party take the wagons from Perrin’s traveling show and set out. The mayor accompanies them, as she believes she can set up a meeting with Mirt the Moneylender (as seen during the session at the Stream of Many Eyes). As they leave the dome around Nightstone, the lockets given to them by Lliira crumble into nothingness...

Dark and Dicey Episode 4

Follow Rina, the author of this recap, on twitter right here.


Nathan Sharp as Pluck the Kenku Swamp Druid
Cristina Vee as Anya the Yuan-Ti Pureblood Warlock
Anna Brisbin as Trixa Teardu the Lightfoot Halfling Barbarian
Hunter Hughes as Kovacs the Half-Elf Oathbreaker Paladin
Zach Callison as Werblund the Deep Gnome Ranger

Kaiji Tang as the Dungeon Master
Where we left off

    At the Stream of Many Eyes, the group  found themselves in a carriage chase as a mob of agents from another party target a magical artifact the Shenanigang currently possesses.
After various shenanigans, they were able to shake off their pursuers. Soon after, their carriage started falling apart, and the dire boar ran into a cart filled with cabbages. The boar trips, flipping onto its back and flinging the carriage and all its occupants straight towards an outer wall of the Yawning Portal.

Thus ended the Stream of Many Eyes session.

Episode 4

The Shenanigang got arrested for property damage. The bag of gold they had found in the carriage was enough for the bail money.

The trip to and from Waterdeep took about a month. Anya had stayed in Fairheim during that time. The rest of them are now approximately 20 minutes out from home. As the magical mist signalling their approach began washing over the ship, everyone made a perception check. Pluck rolled a nat 1! What a wonderful start to the session.

Everyone else notices a small green thing with three eyes and wearing a cap. It is Google McGuffin!  Pluck is the only one unaware of it being there, and yet it sits in his lap. The group does point it out to him, at which point he squawks in surprise and throws it.

Trixa catches Google, and asks where it got it’s hat. Here we learn that Google knits in its spare time, and it makes Trixa, Pluck and Werblund some tiny hats. The group asks it questions, including if it needs to recharge. Google says that it needs to rest like anyone else, but is fresh the next day. After Kovacs confusedly and accusitorily asks it if is suggesting that it is a person, it answers:
“Oh no. I am an ancient and powerful artifact. Here. Have a tiny hat.”

It then asks them to take it with the group as they travel the Blacksteel Isles so that it could expand its knowledge on the area. As the rest of the group talks it over, Pluck attempts to sneak it away to toss out a window. He doesn’t make it very far before the rest of the group notices and Werblund stops him.

Google offers its help in any endeavors the party would need in exchange for taking it with them. Werblund immediately takes Google up on this offer, asking it to find his daughter. It immediately begins glowing green. When it stops it turns towards the Fairheim dock as it confirms finding the girl’s location.

Fairheim looks different. The investments that were discussed at the end of session 2 have been implemented. The Pretty Cook looks like a valid business. The dock is seeing more use for ships coming and going. The orphanage is in operating order, though is still in need of additional furnishings on top of its low-end kitchen and beds. And Anya has constructed a big statue of herself in the middle of town.
Kovacs and Pluck both feel like they should just leave.

The kids playing around the base of Anya’s statue are wearing dark cloaks with little snake emblems on them. It looks like Anya’s cult might have a larger budget now.

As they get off the boat, the cargo door nearly explodes and here appears Sir Piggleton, the dire boar friend! Philbert the tortle store manager also came along with some of the fizzy water supplies, as most of the profits and property of the company had to be sold in order to cover the bail. It looks like the company will have to be remade from the ground up.

Anya quickly comes to welcome the party back, bragging about her successes in Fairheim. A perception check from her shows her a little hat in Pluck’s pocket. She takes it thinking it’s valuable and tries to convince the group to give her a bracelet in return for it. Google says that it could make one.

Pluck tries to deceive Anya into thinking that Google isn’t there and that it was him instead, but Google near immediately ended the ruse. Google has a hard time lying.

Google promises to help get a bracelet for Anya. It also says that it would keep its magic usage to a bare minimum when on the island. This worried Kovacs and Pluck, who tried to put a bracelet on it, but the rock is a bit too small. They’ll need a bit of rope.

Werblund, annoyed, asks about his request from earlier. His daughter is in Thisbinar, with Winkerbean. They will be in Allhaven within six days.

Shady Jeff comes over to ask about the group’s excursion to Waterdeep, but Werblund wheels the conversation back to his daughter. Jeff promises to do some digging for Werblund and figure out information about the Winkerbean circus tent that is to be set up in Allhaven. But in the meantime, leads the group to the now completed circus tent to introduce their new entertainers. They are also now members of Anya’s cult, which is now very popular.

While Trixa tries to figure out different acts they might be able to create and Anya bursts into song, Werblund, Kovacs, and Pluck just leave. Werblund and Kovacs go off to have a of secretive conversation. The two both have qualms against Sir Lucian of Thisbinar, and though Werblund doesn’t like everyone very much, he is willing to work with them in their endeavors if they help him get his daughter back. They plan to go to the smithy to suit up. Pluck eavesdrops on the whole conversation, having rolled a nat 20 on his perception check. His main concern is having Werblund rank everyone in how much he likes Pluck.

Google asks if it could be of assistance for rescuing the daughter, and is quite excited about the prospect. It also mentions however, that Thisbinar is currently closed off from the world, slowing trade and travel down to a trickle. The guard is completely militarized. And to top it all of, Kovacs disclosed that blood magic had been running rampant in the city; demons summoned, humanoids sacrificed, and Lucian himself being imbued with demonic power.

As Kovacs raises his voice angrily as he discloses this information, Trixa and Anya follows them out of the tent as well, leaving the cultists to mill about. Pluck quickly tells one to go learn to juggle and another two to make out or something.

Google mentions Kovacs being responsible for aspects of the political upheaval, which Trixa connected to some peoples’ anger towards him when he introduces himself, and for the secret kept there. Kovacs snaps at Trixa, saying that both the man he wishes to destroy and Trixa have demonic strength, so why should he trust her. This is when Google pipes up defending her, stating that Trixa doesn’t have control over that.

And that Google knows everything about them.

Trixa tries to secretly ask Google how to get rid of the demon. It involves forgiving her mother, which she does not want to do. We also learn that the demon comes out with negative emotions and survival instincts. Pluck and Werblund overhear the conversation, and Pluck tries to convince Werblund to not tell Kovacs for fear of him killing Trixa. Kovacs does overhear that though. Pluck tries to cover his tracks.

Anya also wants to talk to the pet rock. When Trixa finishes the conversation and hands Google over, there was a flash of green in her eyes, which faded immediately.

Kovacs gives up and goes to Ironhoof’s smithy with Werblund. Ironhoof excitedly welcomes them back and gives Kovacs a greatsword made from the silver and adamantite they took from Fizzlepot’s armor. It doesn’t have a name, but here are its stats:

2d6 Greatsword. Heavy, two-handed. Silvered. Adamantite Reinforced: Automatically crits against inanimate objects.

When Kovacs sheathed the weapon on his back, he felt movement behind him. Pluck had appeared, trying to chew on the sword because it is very shiny.

Werblund sells off his meat cleaver, dagger, and chain mail and buys two longswords and a breastplate. Pluck buys a necklace with mazes on it, that could be enchanted if he so chose. Kovacs also sells his chain mail in favor of a breastplate.

Google also wants to get equipment. A tiny sword and shield, specifically. Pluck covers for it, mimicking its voice. They end up taking a letter opener shaped like a sword and the decorative shield it came with. Ironhoof just gives it to him.

As they leave the smithy the kids who are a part of a cult ambush the group asking for presents. Kovacs gives one a shortsword and Trixa gives another a throwing knife.
They’re about to start their “slaves and drugs” chant, but Shady Jeff stops them and they start to chant “peace and love,” though they are exasperated as they do.

The Pretty Cook makes a big meal for them when they return. The menu has expanded into what is considered more normal cuisine, but the Underdark menu is still available. Anya and SnekSnek are eating mice. SnekSnek has a little hat now, which Google had made for him. SnekSnek likes Google.

Pluck goes off to a table by himself to ask Google to enchant the newly acquired necklace to be like the bracelet. He has to make an ominous wisdom saving throw, which was a 12. The rock says that it can’t enchant the necklace by itself, but if Pluck touches it then they could get some help.

When he does, they vanish from the room.

Pluck is writhing around in a chaotic and dark place, unable to make a sound. Google is off in the distance, holding a seemingly friendly conversation with a formless entity that is both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It goes like this for what feels like hours or years.

And he returns back to the room.

Immediately, Pluck lets out a scream and throws Google in a panic. Everyone else goes to alert. Werblund pulls out his swords. Trixa catches Google. Pluck’s necklace is now a +1 necklace of protection.

After a chaotic conversation filled with yelling, Pluck storms away, traumatized. Everyone else stays trying to hash out what happened.

Google’s friend is an antisocial djinn which lives on its own plane of existence. The artifact doesn’t think the rest of the group would like it there based off of Pluck’s reaction.

Google has, however, started formulating the beginnings of a plan to get another bracelet. There are two potential targets: Vigil, the tiefling woman guard captain they had met previously, and Nekko Havenspear, another guard captain that patrols the area and is something of a celebrity in Allhaven. It looks like the plan right now is to have Anya seduce Havenspear.

Werblund reluctantly tells Anya that if she helps in getting his daughter back, he would help her get a bracelet, and may consider her a friend at that point. Anya excitedly tells SnekSnek of this development.

Later, Anya and Trixa go to Ironhoof’s before he closes up shop. Trixa sells a kitchen knife she got from the prison ship’s kitchen. Anya sells the Ring of Bureaucratic Wizardry, and attempts to sell the vial of blood she collected off of Fizzlepot as well. The first was a very successful transaction, but the second went less swimmingly and grossed Ironhoof out, opting to help Trixa instead. She got a battleaxe. Anya tries to get something better than her shortsword, and winds up with a giant mace that functions more as a warhammer. Anya also gets some studded leather armor. Trixa asks for a cloak, which Ironhoof says he doesn’t have any of right now, but if she comes back tomorrow she can pick up a cloak. It’s being made of some of the drapes on the window. Anya also buys a little puzzle ring and bracelet to try to cheer up Pluck. The bracelet is engraved with a personalized message from Anya.

The night is from there uneventful, but they all get a wake up call from Google floating from room to room, excited for adventure with its little letter opener sword and shield.

The plan is for Anya to go seduce Nekko Havenspear. Google magically applies her makeup. As they make their way through the woods towards the waterfall, they come across a cart being ransacked by three lizardlike creatures, and Philbert the tortle up a tree calling for help. They turn angrily. Kovacs tries to intimdate them into leaving, with the help of Werblund. Unfornutately, a 1 was rolled, and Kovacs burps instead. Pluck just hides with a natural 20.

The lizardfolk speak to them in Draconic, and the only one who understands them is Anya. At first she tries to persuade them to leave, but failing that she tries to intimidate them by describing what her friends can do. Upon hearing that Kovacs had been a part of a political upheaval, they became interested. Apparently, their people have been driven from their homes, the lizardfolk people now starving on the streets and outskirts of Allhaven. The reason they are ransacking the cart is due to hunger. Anya wants to help her reptilian brethren, and ends up promising to kill of the Allhavians.

    When the lizardfolk leave, she relays this to her party, and Google confirms. Everyone is annoyed at her in different respects, but Kovacs says that the best way to help them while maintaining the deal is to get rid of those in power in Allhaven.

    A bit later they make it to a clearing that has a river leading to a nice pond with a small waterfall nearby. Nekko is bathing in the pond and waterfall. He’s a classically beautiful man. Textbook, in fact.

 Kovacs spots the bracelet they’re after, and Anya spots a very ornate, nice looking spear. When the items are pointed out, Werblund notes that the spear is well constructed. Pluck just sees the shiny point, casts Pass Without Trace, and goes to take it.

    Werblund gave the bracelet he was wearing to Anya in hopes that she would cast invisibility on someone to make it easy to just steal the items and leave, but instead she went up to a distance close enough to Nekko to cast Charm Person. Exasperated, Werblund goes to take the bracelet.
Both thefts succeed. Whether or not Charm Person succeeded is unclear, but Anya goes to greet the man anyway. A persuasion check and a charisma saving throw later, the man seems to see Anya in a positive light. He gets out of the pond and his bottom half appears to actually be a horse.

Which is where the episode ends! Join us next time to find out whether or not Anya can seduce a centaur, and if the others can get away without him noticing his stuff missing!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hell's Belles Episode 1

You can watch this show on Twitch right here

This is a new show on the D&D Twitch channel that airs on Sunday nights. They are playing through a classic Planescape adventure, The Great Modron March, converted to 5th edition.

Obviously this is of great interest to me, because I ran the exact same thing a few years back and really enjoy seeing how other people play through it.

On top of that, this show features a bewildering collection of players that I either know, have played with, or admire! Shauna plays in my online games and is the co-host of Waffle Talk with me. Lysa is a frequent guest star on my shows. I've had Kayla, Mazz, and Holly on as guests on Waffle Talk.

This group has 7 players! That's a lot. I was wondering if it would hurt the pacing, but it didn't at all.

The Party

DM Mazz

(Shauna) Levity - Tiefling Monk linked to Glasya
(Chloe Christine) Lyra - Tiefling Paladin
(Hadeel) Miga - Tiefling Rogue an urchin who lives by the sea
(Holly Conrad) Durge - Tiefling Bard college of whispers, member of the Dustmen
(Lysa Chen) Mercy - Tiefling Shadow sorcerer from Ravenloft
(TK Johnson) Gille - Tiefling Paladin
(KaylaPentar - Tiefling linked to Zuggtmoy

The heroes are in the grand bazaar of Sigil.  Shopkeepers are touting their wares, a number of dabus are clipping razorvine.

The group spots Chastity, an ally who has been helping the group get acclimated to the city. Levity buys some cranium rat skewers. Miga eats an entire rat skewer in one bite.

Pentar is picking mushrooms off of her body. She holds one up to Mercy, who swats it away.

Gille taps his foot, looks around, wondering when Levity will bring him his food.

Lyra picks through a food stall and buys apples for everyone. She hands them out to the group.

Durge thinks the cranium rat skewer is under-cooked. She's pretty sure Miga will experience the True Death soon.

The group suddenly begins to feel excruciating pain. For some reason, it is relieved slightly when they walk in a particular direction. Mercy thinks Pentar implanted spores in everyone's brain.

The trail of less pain leads to a shop once owned by Durge's uncle, Jysson. He was a clerk.

Mercy opens the door and asks, "Uncle J"? There's dust everywhere. Papers and notebooks everywhere. Mercy is a bit of a neat freak. She screams and shuts the door.

Miga pulls out the rat skewer, ready for battle. Gille thinks that this is a chance for heroics. The heroes cautiously enter the building.

Levity hears a voice that says, "Oh dear, I had no idea that this would happen."

A cat jumps on a table. It's grey. It talks! The cat cocks its head, and asks, "Durge?"

Miga hides and hisses at the cat. Durge shakes its paw. It's Uncle Jysson, in cat form. He explains that he died and became a petitioner for one of the lords in the beastlands.

Then, a book begins to speak. It's the source of the pain they'd been experiencing. It has drawn the group here to speak to them about Automata, the gate town to Mechanus.

There's a face in the book. It explains that its master, Heiron Lifegiver, has a debt that must be repaid. The Book wants the group to travel to the gate town of Automata.

The portal to Automata is in the clerk's ward. The key to the portal is a piece of paper torn perfectly in half with the letter "e" on each half.

Miga and Pentar can't read, so this "e" thing is more difficult than expected.

As the group leaves and hits the streets of Sigil, Miga does some pickpocketing and nabs a cool 13 silver pieces.

Mercy notices in an alleyway that there is someone organizing pens. It's a round ball - a monodrone. Mercy reorganizes the pens. The monodrone has got red paint on him. S3-4N. Heyyyyyy..... wait a minute.

Mercy watches him put things in order. S3-4N has one normal robot arm and the other has a fork hand.

Mercy has one white clawed arm. Her other arm is like stained glass due to a curse. S3-AN smiles. The tieflings like him.

Miga wants the monodrone. It says "Designation modron from Mechanus." Miga sees that his hand is made of treasure.

Pentar licks him and sticks two mushrooms to him. It asks Miga if she's a modron. Miga says yes, she's "Miga 2". Miga shows the group the monodrone and says that it's shaped like a friend.

A door pops open in its side. It has a little... flavor packet... it spices the mushroom and starts chewing on it. Wut. It hands Mercy the rest. It's shiftspice. In a flavor packet. Mercy puts the flavor packet in there.

OK. Wow! Let me explain this. A few weeks back, I ran an adventure called Rrakkma online. I put shiftspice in it, which is a cool item from Planescape: Torment. Basically, you put it on your food, imagine the flavor - and that's the flavor of the spice.

I went on and on about the shiftspice, and the group dared to suggest that it comes in little flavor packets, like mustard at a fast food place. I dramatically informed them that shiftspice only comes in containers like salt shakers - it's too cool and magical to be found in a flimsy little flavor packet.

Since that time, my players have been attempting to do all sorts of stuff with their flavor packets, and every time I have to correct them.

During a recent dinosaur race, the group tried to entice their triceratops mount by dangling food  in front of it - trying to put shiftspice from a flavor packet on the food to core sweet advantage on the check! I was outraged.

So, on this show, apparently there is a modron whose name is suspiciously similar to mine that is dispensing shiftspice flavor packets.

Clearly, I will have to retaliate in some manner on one of my shows, at the very least to clear the air about why the githzerai would never put shiftspice in a flavor packet. I mean, it's just not feasible.

She picks up S3-4N and holds it over Miga. It uses its fork hand to comb Miga's hair. Miga tells it to rest and it shuts down.

The group steps through the portal and appears in Automata, sometimes referred to as "Old Tomato" by the adventurers. All the buildings are the same size. The people walk in neat lines and rows. Most of them are wearing identical grey robes. The group hears a voice declare that "newcomers must register."

Jysson is with the group. He recommends that the group ditch the guards or they'll be in lines for hours. They take his advice.

Miga pickpockets.. rolls a d100. Gets a 69. She yoinks a dog-eared pamphlet containing... modron porn. Oh no.. S3-4N sees it. Its eye goes wide. Can not unsee.

Gille snatches it away. Levity wants it. Lyra advises that Gille hides it in his haversack. The chat has many a title for this pron booklet:
  • "Love Knows No HD Limits."
  • "How to Oil Your Gears."
  • "Two Modrons - One Coupler"
The group nears Fandal's smoked meats. The book says that this is definitely where its makers used to live. The master's name was Heiron Lifegiver.

Miga goes in with some money. She asks, "Is there a wizard? Can I have meat?" The shop was once owned by Heron, but it has been sold. She is told that Heron has been seen at a halfling tavern not too far from here. The Book knows where the tavern is.

The heroes head to the halfling bar, which is sized for small creatures. Levity spots someone she knows - Chastity. Durge performs for the patrons and hands out pamphlets on the True Death.

Chastity quietly advises the group that Heiron is in hiding. The Council of Anarchy is after him. This council tries to keep Automata from getting too lawful so that it doesn't slide into Mechanus.

Chastity tells the group that Heiron is in a closet in a building nearby. It's guarded at night.

The group buys forged papers and heads to the Council of Order building. They make their way inside and find the closet. Heiron opens the door - he's a half-elf.

Suddenly, the door vanishes and he tumbles to the floor. A high elf woman and 8 hired goons are here. The high elf wants to put the heroes in the dead book. Durge says she is so ready to go in the dead book.

Durge casts crown of madness on the high elf and forces her to attack one of her allies.

Miga rushes a guy and and stabs him with the skewer. The guy's eyeball comes out. Good gawd.

The adventurers pummel the guards. Then.. chaos ensues. The people of the city are running around. someone shouts out that the modrons are marching.

S3-AN asks, "What is happening?"

The portal in Automata is open and modrons are pouring through. Hundreds of them. One of the goons snatches the book from the heroes and escapes into the crowd.

Jysson tells Durge that the clerk building in Sigil belongs to her now.


Great show!! Mazz got 7 players through an entire chapter in a single session. That's not easy! Great group, really fun to watch.