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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 5 - Curse of Strahd

Episode 5: Raven Kind

You can watch this episode on youtube here.

The alternate title of this episode is: Naked Uppercut in the Rain

There was no DCA last week, probably because of PAX. I really wish they'd keep this on a weekly schedule.

Last Time: In the previous session, we left off with the group battling a bunch of hags. Most of the group is by the front door of the windmill dealing with the "mother" hag, Morgantha. Paultin is over in the grass and he has two other hags looming over him.

The Waffle Crew+1

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(Chris) Falkon - Wereraven
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer 
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue
(Nathan) Paultin - Human Bard 

We start off with no sound. Critical Role DM Matt Mercer is running the game...? They're fighting four tarrasques? Paultin dies.. Evelyn cries and says, "My one and only love!"

Chris Perkins kicks Mercer out. Chris says he had to use the restroom.

Green Hag
OK, here we go. Paultin's about to die. Two green hags, invisible, are about to murder him. Suddenly, the NPCs we forgot were there jump in! Ireena and Ismark attack the hags. They are fighting 5-10 feet from a precipice. Paultin grabs the kids and flees. We learn later that one hag falls off the side and the other one lies in the grass, presumably dead.

Over by the front door, the group keeps rolling natural ones. It's pretty uncanny. Diath stabs the mother hag. Falkon, in bird form, chews up a dream pastry and tries to regurgitate it into the hag's mouth. The hag fails her save!

Wow.. check out page 125 of Curse of Strahd. She's in a trance for d4+4 hours! She's incapacitated!

Oh nooo... Evelyn stabs her, which wakes her up! The hag is out of her stupor. The group had Morgantha defeated but they didn't realize it!

Strix casts a chromatic orb spell.. and rolls a natural one! Their dice are ice cold. Falkon assumes human form, he's naked now. He calls out "Eyes up here, hag!" and gives her an uppercut, but her chin is like iron. It is decided that the name of this episode is "Naked Uppercut in the Rain."

The hag turns invisible.

Strix hears trouble over by the precipice. She sees Ireena is 40 feet down, hanging on to a rock. A hag is holding onto her. Both are dangling 120 feet in the air.

Strix tries to intimidate the hag into letting go of Ireena. Strix tells the hag that her mother is very angry. She has disadvantage on her check. Strix rolls well! The hag falls 120 feet to the rocks below.

Back by the front door, Paultin casts faerie fire which illuminates the invisible mother hag. Wow, that's like the only time I have ever seen faerie fire used in a useful way, and it helps the party big time.

Evelyn drops the mother hag and does a dramatic religious prayer/pose.

Strix lowers a rope to Ireena and almost falls off the side. Ireena is wearing heavy armor, and is too heavy for one person to hold. Ismark and the party run over to help.

As the party is trying to pull up Ireena, we learn that the hag in the grass isn't dead! The hag runs up and crashes into the line of people holding the rope! The group makes their saves. Ismark finishes her off.  Wow that would have been pretty crazy if the group rolled poorly.

The group goes over to Morgantha's cart by the front door and pulls the third kid out of the sack. So there's three rescued kids in total: Myrtle, Freek and Emmerich (Chris took this last name off the list of names on page 25). Emmerich is a shell, he has no soul. Freek is attached to Paultin and follows him around. Paultin doesn't want to call the kid "freak" so he refers to him as Jimmy.

We learn that Falkon was once close with Escher (who the group learned a bit about back in the village), but Escher is now evil and allied with Strahd. Falkon tells the heroes to kill him and to make it quick and merciful. It's interesting that Chris is making Escher a featured NPC.

Diath loots a dream pastry. The group decides to take a long rest at the windmill. During this time, Strix wisely inspects the potions she found last time. One is a potion of longevity, another infects the drinker with cackle fever, and the last one is a poison called pale tincture.

The next morning, they set the windmill on fire. Ismark takes the children back to Barovia for their own safety. Falkon has to leave the party.

Chris Trott is really good! He added a lot to the game and he gave a sort of weight to the proceedings. He knew a lot about the backstory and it was very impressive.

We get a bunch of hilarious goodbyes, including a naked hug between Falkon and Diath.

The group is stopped at the gate to Vallaki. The group tells the guards they are here for waffles and to defeat Strahd. Diath is introduced as "Diath, Windmill's Bane." The group learns that waffles can be had at the Blue Mountain Inn.

A guard points out that Strix, a tiefling, looks like the burgomaster's right hand man. Wow! I think Strix's brother is Izek Strazni, one of my favorite NPCs in Curse of Strahd. Izek has a thing for Ireena, so this should get real interesting.

Check out Izek's origin:

How crazy is that? Strix is basically canon.

The guards give a pile of info. The group enters Vallaki, and that's where we stop. Vallaki is loaded with stuff to do. We may be spending quite a while here.

The group has hit level 4. Next week we will have a guest: Erika Ishii. Chris decides to give Paultin inspiration for the faerie fire and gives Strix inspiration for intimidating the hag. If you don't know, that means that the heroes can re-roll one roll in a future session.

Inspiration has been tricky to use in an effective way. I've found that players don't really care about it after a couple sessions and that it feels cheap when given out too freely. I guess Chris is using it sparingly to make it feel more special.


(12:00) Morgantha the hag also has a foul mouth.
(30:00) Strix tries to help the dangler.
(48:27) The Rear Huggy/Evelyn makes the party barf.
(1:23:28) The group says goodbye to the kids.
(1:32:00) Diath wants a special goodbye from Falkon.


This was a very fun session. The group really clicked nicely and it was a very enjoyable episode to watch. For me, personally, I wish the group would get more done, but I'm probably in the minority on that one. In particular I feel like time was wasted once the fight was over. We could have got a good 15 minutes of exploring Vallaki instead of the extended rest sequence, but again maybe that's just me.

Somebody Draw Them: I am hoping some enterprising artist out there draws this group. I'd really like to see exactly what they look like.

D&D is Sort of Popular: On top of that, does anyone else find it weird that D&D is more socially accepted now? I'm not complaining! It's just hard to adjust to. For most of my life, people would outwardly kind of roll their eyes when I talked about D&D, but once they heard some stories about it they'd get interested. Then they'd play and love it.

It's really odd to live in a time where comic book movies and fantasy stuff are cool and mainstream. I'm glad! I wish it was like this when I was a kid.

Click here to proceed to episode 6.


Martin said...

Nice write up Sean! I actually don't find time to watch this show myself, but I'm glad I can still follow it through your words. It's kinda strange that this is my first comment, since there have been way older posts of yours which I have gone back to time and time again, but hey, something has got to be the first :)
keep up the good work, enjoying your blog alot!

Sean said...

Martin: Thanks for the kind words! With Dice Camera Action, I knew I wanted to watch it because Chris Perkins was running it. Nobody really recaps these things like they do TV shows, maybe because the whole idea of streaming D&D is so new. I guess I'd stop if I got bored of it, but I don't see that happening. I have been toying with the idea of sampling other shows when DCA has an off-week, not sure about that yet.