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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Roll20CON D&D Waffle Crew Special - Death in the Cornfields

There was a special D&D show the other day featuring Chris Perkins and the players of Dice, Camera, Action. It was part of Roll20CON, an online event to raise money for Cybersmile.

You can check this show out on youtube here.

Alternate title for this Episode: Stinky Come Back

Today, James Introcaso of the Tome Show is going to run Chris, Jared, Anna and Holly through a DMs Guild adventure - Death in the Cornfields by Merric Blackman. Awesome, right?

James also utilizes his own DMs Guild product called Tarokka Expansion. I'll talk about this more below, but I love this thing and you should definitely consider buying it (it's a dollar) if you are running Curse of Strahd. 

Perkins on the Exhaustion Chart: Chris is operating on two hours of sleep. He has this look on his face like he can see through time.

Essential Part: If you watch nothing else on this stream, you should watch the battle with Elias. It is about an hour into the show. It is really fun and I like it when the group loosens up.

Alternate Universe: Today's adventure is not "canon" as far as DCA Curse of Strahd goes. The heroes are 4th level.

Chris is going to play Ireena Kolyana, one of the main NPCs in Curse of Strahd. She's the one who Strahd wants to be his bride. Chris calls her "the Bella Swan of Barovia."

The Party

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(Chris) Ireena Kolyana - Human Fighter
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer 
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue

Jared's in quite a mood today. In fact, everyone is. This is a very relaxed, fun session that is full of laughs.

The group comes to a cornfield. There's a guy tied to a scarecrow post. It is declared that Paultin the bard is drunk and passed out.

Evelyn pulls the guy off the scarecrow. Jared wants to know if he scared away any crows. The guy's name is Elias. He asks for water and falls in and out of consciousness.

The guy says his parents are possessed. His parents are the ones who beat him up and stuck him on the post.

The group becomes wary that evil is afoot. Perhaps the devil Strahd is involved! Evelyn points out the Strahd has a crush on Ireena. Ireena grimly confirms this and looks around. Ireena astutely observes: "Even the corn is watching us."

The group checks out a shed. They find some dead bodies. Elias weeps. Strix comforts him and lets him play with Stinky, her cranium rat. She also feeds Elias some of the gross lint-y bread in her pockets.

They find a dead couple. Their heads are cut off.

As we roll along at a decent pace, the DM is giving out piles of inspiration. It seems like he has made a habit of giving it out in his games. Inspiration is something that usually gets forgotten in most of the campaigns I've been a part of.

On this show, James is very generous with the players. I guess he's doing that because this is just a one-off kind of thing meant to be fun. Is this how people tend to run convention games?

The heroes come upon an outhouse. Ireena pulls Diath into the outhouse and makes out with him. Strix complains that no one ever wants her, so Ireena pulls her in too.

Chris is so funny. He has such a solemn demeanor but then he does stuff like this. I'd love to see how he acts in a home game. I wonder what it's like when he cuts loose.

The group creeps over to another building and hears talking. Diath sneaks up to a window and takes a look. It's a middle-aged couple.

Diath wants to do a badass diving roll through the window.

Ireena knocks on the door. The couple inside panics. They are worried and wonder aloud if it's "The Collector." The Collector is a vistani who crossed Strahd long ago. Now it is her job to fetch new servants for Strahd, who are usually turned into vampire spawn.

The door is opened and Ireena asks them why Elias was tied to the stand. The man grabs a bloody axe, approaches the group and begins ranting. Diath jumps in through the window. Diath gets surprise. He intimidates them.

Elias comes over and yells at his parents. Elias runs off. Elias has Strix's cranium rat. Strix calls out: "Stinky, Come back!"

Elias comes back and gives Evelyn a shove. His eyes are glowing red. Jared goes: "Yup, there it is. Dagger in his face."

Elias grows claws and fangs. He may be a vampire spawn. Diath stabs him.

Evelyn rolls a one. That means it is time to expand the Tarokka deck with... the Tarokka Expansion!

So here's the deal. When you roll a critical hit or a critical miss, you draw a card from the tarokka deck. Then you check out this .pdf and it tells you what kind of effect happens. I think this is an awesome idea.

She draws from the Tarokka deck. She gets the Innocent card - she has disadvantage on her saving throws.

The father urges Diath to kill his son. Evelyn cries. Strix casts hold person on Elias and calls him an "edgelord." Chris points out that the guy has a right to be angsty - his own parents tied him to a post.

Diath gets a critical hit. He gets to draw from the deck. He draws Traitor, which means he adds another d10 to his damage. Diath does a total of about 35 damage total. Good gawd. His weapon is not magical, so I think he does half damage.

Evelyn says that Elias is going to taste Lathander's wrath. Holly speculates that Lathander probably tastes like lemon.

Evelyn rolls a crit. The card is Necromancer: Everybody gets to make a free attack!

Elias dies. Evelyn blesses him and tells him to walk into the light. Diath gives him one more stab in the back. Evelyn chops his head off at the suggestion of Strix.

You know, I think Chris should add this Tarokka crit stuff to the DCA game. Maybe they can't do that because they want to run a straight 'official' game, but I think they should. It's fun.

The parents of Elias are upset. Ireena points out that it's not too late to start a new family.

We are told that the trouble should be over now. The Collector only comes for those who those who are marked.

Suddenly, the voice of a woman reverberates throughout the house. It's the Collector. She says another has been marked by the vampire - Ireena. The Collector demands that Ireena be brought outside. Everyone else can go free.

Diath drinks a healing potion. The door bursts open. Hovering there is the image of a tarokka card: The Horseman.

I guess at this point the stream went down, and we jump to a new archived video.

The Collector and a pack of wolves attack. The group is spread out outside.

The Collector casts lightning bolt. Yikes! One of the parent NPCs is killed by this and Evelyn takes 15 points. Evelyn rolls a critical fumble and hits herself.

The group is able to defeat the bad guys and that's the end.


After the show, Anna, James and a guy named Nolan talk a bit:
  • Anna says people have been telling her that you can't have a southern accent in D&D. 
  • We talk about how sometimes people claim the Roll20 dice roller is rigged. You can actually look up the last 100,000 rolls in Roll20 games so you can see that it is not.
  • Nolan talks about how people who watch and use Roll20 are really nice. They didn't even have a ban button in their chat forum for the entire first year.
I wish they would have talked about D&D stuff some more. I want someone to pick Anna's brain about DCA, and I want to hear James talk about what running the game was like for him.


Fun: I love Holly. I think she is hilarious. I don't know why, but she and the group are much tamer on Dice, Camera, Action. Too tame, in my opinion. Every session should be like this. It's more fun to watch when they are having fun.

James Sold me on Roll20: James seems like a nice, jolly fellow who knows his stuff. He knows how to use Roll20 extremely well, which helped a lot. He did a great job of showing us what it can do. Roll20 can handle all sorts of rolls, it can use nice maps, the DM can block off map areas that the heroes haven't been to, and it can even draw tarokka deck cards!

It's funny because just a few days ago my friend was telling me about an online game he runs every week and all of the problems he is having with it. He said that the main issue was that he was unable to "read the room," so to speak. He said playing live at the table is much better. But this show went a long way in convincing me that an online game could be worth doing.

Fun Adventure: I like how this adventure is located in one spot. It's a great idea to set a scenario in one locale and let the danger find the heroes, rather than vice versa. I also like that it is short, but it felt a little too short to me.


James Introcaso said...

Hey Sean! Thanks for the awesome review! Really appreciate it and glad you had fun watching the show.

Just a quick note, the tarokka product is actually Tarokka Expansion, not Tarokka Unleashed (though that one looks awesome).

Sean said...

James Introcaso: Yikes, sorry about that. I will fix it right now. Thank you for the kind words!

Jan Senko said...

twitch link is dead, recording is here:

Sean said...

Jan Senko: Thank you for the assist. I'll fix it right now!