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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series - Episode 2

You can watch this episode on youtube right here.

This show was posted at the crack of dawn, which is handy for us nocturnal people.

The title sequence is shorter this time with some new art.

More Planning: This is another "planning" episode which, I know, might sound like a bad time for some people. This episode turned out to be a ton of fun, in my opinion. All of this build-up makes me really excited to see what happens once the group actually goes to the fortress.

The RPGA is Driving me Nuts: At the very bottom of this, I'm going to talk a bit about how I am going insane trying to find certain old RPGA adventures, especially "Cutters" by Chris Perkins. If anyone knows anyone who has a copy, please let me know. I am losing my mind.

Last Time: The group hatched a scheme to steal a piece of the rod of seven parts from a dwarven stronghold.

The Party

(Jerry) Omin Dran - Half-Elf Cleric
(Mike) Jim Darkmagic - Human Wizard
(Scott) Binwin Bronzebottom - Dwarf Fighter/Barbarian
(Patrick) Viari - Human Rogue

This whole "guard with bagpipes" thing was mentioned last time and it is discussed again at the start. It seems like it is important, so I'm going to give you a direct quote:

"Stationed outside the gate at all hours is a horned dwarf with a set of bagpipes. When he wants to allow somebody admittance inside he will play the song of the day. "

The group learns more about this dwarven fortress from Portentia. Portentia is the sister of Omin Dran and she is also Jim Darkmagic's love interest.

Portentia says that when the group is allowed admittance into the place, a pair of stone golems will open the doors and usher the group into the hall of war. If the golems don't like the look of the group, they will attack.

Chris tells the group that the rod is in the "vaults," and we actually zoom in on that map area. The star indicates where the rod is. Chris admits that he made this map. Here is the vaults section:

Keys: The outer vault has a pair of keys and a combo lock. We learn who has the keys:
  • One key is held by the horned dwarves. 
  • The other is held by the vault's current user - a member of Dran Enterprises. That person is in the guest quarters, north of the main hall.
Magic Mouth: The second door of the vault is guarded by a magic mouth that will ask for a command word. The command word changes often. Portentia knows there are secret entrances in to this complex, but she doesn't know where they are.

Jim Darkmagic thinks he can cast suggestion and make the horned dwarf play the bagpipes.

Binwin has a Plan: Omin Dran can pretend to be a noble who wants to store something in the vault. What's the item being stored? A dwarf in a box. Wow. Binwin will open the door from the inside.

The group loves the idea and bounces some other ideas around. Omin says that his sister looks like him and has her head shaved. He might be able to pose as her.

Scott slips Chris a secret note, which makes him chortle. Hmmm.

Zardak Thane: Once they enter, the group will probably have a meeting with Zardak Thane, the ruler. Then they'll be able to wander around as they like. Zardak is half-blind.

Viari has a great point: It's better to fight on the way out then fighting in and than fighting out.

Two-Person Box: Jim Darkmagic wants to be in the crate, too. We discuss air holes. "Don't worry, nothing can go wrong with a dwarf in a box."

If this plan goes south, they can explode out of the box and get surprise. If they get caught, they will do like in Sneakers - they will say that they were hired to test the security of the fortress.

Jim can use rope trick so if anyone opens the box they won't see the heroes. They'll put a phony crystal/decoy treasure in there. They later decide to use invisibility, as apparently rope trick won't work.

Lock-Picking Practice: Viari goes out to find the best dwarven lock money can buy. He wants to see if he can adjust his lockpicks to get a bonus when it comes time to pick the locks in the vault. He pays 500 gold for this practice lock. This is the first time in 9 years they've spent any gold.

Jim heads to the Darkmagic lab to concoct a magic brew that will knock out the dwarves. He spends 500 gold for the ingredients.

Crafting the Box: They are going to get a big, heavy gem and a large fancy box with meaningless designs on the outside. There's a special exit from the inside that opens right away. Opening it from the top is purposely complicated to give the guys inside a moment to react.

The vault is managed by a wizard named Ironbeard. He was bribed by Auspicia with a spell book.

Viari still has Guenhwyvar, Drizzt's panther. Jim has a magic whistle that lets him summon a unicorn named Andehar. This whistle is linked to Mielikki, the Forgotten Realms goddess of nature.

Wand of Wonder: Viari gives Binwin his wand of wonder so he has ranged capabilities. Chris says normally the wand can only be used by a spellcaster but he decides to waive that for this particular wand.

As they make preparations, the group hears rumors about giants stomping around. The group wants to build a wall and make the giants pay for it.

Another idea is to give use Drizzt's panther as a bribe. They were told that Drizzt is not worried about anything like that. The legendary drow will just come back and take his panther.

Portentia mentions that if things go south, the dwarves will cordon off areas of the complex with portcullises. There are a few rooms with levers that control them.

We're about ready to do this thing! That's where we stop. This should be really awesome. I am tempted to write this up as an adventure to post on this blog but I'm not sure if that is legally OK to do. Maybe they'll release it in adventure form once it is finished.


(3:08) Dwarf in a box.
(15:06) The secret note.


30 Minutes is Good: I love the half-hour format. It is kind of weird in the sense that we're only seeing one long session over the course of many weeks, but this feels so refreshing compared to the other shows which are much longer. I feel that short episodes and long sessions each have their merits.

Is This Adventure Inspired by an Old Adventure? Is this in some way linked to Frank Mentzer's "Dwarven" Quest for the Rod of Seven Parts? I think last session Chris mentioned a guardian maiden, a thing that is part of Tinker's Canyon. Mentzer also had a scenario called "The Fiery Fortress" which might have inspired this version.. maybe? Probably not.

Speaking of the RPGA: I am really dying to get a look at a lot of old RPGA adventures, especially these:
  • The Dwarven Quest for the Rod of Seven Parts by Frank Mentzer
  • (Planescape) Cutters by Chris Perkins
  • A Simple Errand by Skip Williams
If the DM's Guild put those up on their site, I'd buy them. I know that it is possible that these scenarios are basically just ugly dot matrix printouts, but I am dying to use them.

Check out this site to torture yourself by looking at the titles of adventures you can't buy.

There is one RPGA scenario that is available on the old wizards site..

Dragotha's Lair by Bruce Cordell

I'm pretty sure that there was a Chris Perkins adventure linked to the 2e Warriors of Heaven book that was available, but I don't see it now.


Fernando Kowalski said...

Just passing here to say that I enjoy reading your blog, you have an audience here in Brazil. Keep the good work.

Ashley said...

I would love to see you write this up as an adventure if it were something that wouldn't get you into trouble. Otherwise, I'm thoroughly enjoying your recaps; I will admit, this is the first series where you've successfully convinced me to actually watch the episodes before reading. And I'll agree, despite having not 'done' anything in two sessions, these guys are a blast to watch, and very engaging. Good luck on tracking down those other adventures, though!

baticeer said...

I had no idea those RPGA adventures existed, and now I too am tormented by the fact that I can't have them, haha. We should make it known that there is definitely an interest in seeing these on DMsGuild! I did some poking around the internet and was able to find one of the other Chris Perkins Planescape adventures, "The Manxome Foe"– if you want to see a copy that one, let me know.

Sean said...

Fernando Kowalski: Brazil! Wow. Most of the best MMA fighters come from Brazil! Thank you.

Ashley: Well, I might write the scenario up as an adventure and if I get yelled at, I'll take it down. Maybe I'll just make a vague outline. I hope someday I can get my hands on Cutters. Chris Perkins said in an old interview it was the adventure he is most proud of! I could shoehorn this thing right into my Planescape campaign. I'm glad you like Acquisitions, Inc.. it's one of those shows that makes you want to play D&D. I think it will be a gold mine for DMs to get ideas from. Thanks!

Baticeer: These RPGA adventures are just free money for wizards of the coast. All they have to do is scan them! I think I have Manxome Foe, it was printed in TSR Jam, I think. But thank you! I don't know what the legal situation with these old RPGA adventures is. Is it ok to download them? I am guessing not, and I don't want to get in trouble. If possible, maybe someday I'll have the chance to buy them off of a collector. I would love it if a whole bunch of people pooled their money together to buy them and scan them. It's such a waste to have a rod of seven parts mega-adventure floating out there that nobody can read!