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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons - The Teleporting Toilet

We played some more of the Key Ring campaign this past Saturday and, as always, it was hilarious. We went through a 2nd edition Lankhmar adventure converted to 5e.

In a month or so, I will start putting sessions of this campaign on youtube. They will take these characters through an old adventure that I’ve always wanted to run.

I am thinking that during weeks where a few players can't play that I'll run some other thing for some other group. I was thinking maybe Shadowrun. I love Shadowrun, even though I will never understand the rules. I think it would be really cool to record playthroughs of classic adventures like Mercurial, Dreamchipper, and maybe Harlequin. Harlequin has a reputation as being an epic adventure, but honestly what I've seen of it doesn't look so great.

Mostly, I just love running games with motorcycle chases, gun fights, and tough-talking people who smoke all the time.

The Key Ring

(Andrew) Finy Teetoe - Halfling Rogue
(Ashley) Lemuel - Human Rogue
(Joe) Zavagor - Half-orc Warlock

Last time, the adventurers had planned to infiltrate a costume party to steal a magic gem called the Star of the East. The star apparently has properties that can foil the plans of the devils who have infiltrated the city.

Pat, who plays Gurn, couldn't make it. His gnome was standing on the shoulders of Finy, sharing an owl costume. I declared that he was sick and had to go home. Dornella, the halfling NPC, took his place. She used these severed satyr arms as part of the costume.

Handling Absent Players: Long ago, I used to worry about 'writing out' characters of players who couldn't make it to the session. I'd do backflips and spend a lot of time thinking of a plausible way to write them out.

Over time, I learned that it really doesn't matter. Nobody remembers that they were gone! This kind of thing has never hurt my campaigns at all.

There are a number of pitfalls when figuring out how to deal with an absentee. If you say that the character is present but "doing stuff in the background", that can become a problem. The entire group might be on the verge of a TPK and then the players will remember that the vacant character is technically there.

At that point, you're in a weird bind. They need that character or they are doomed! But it feels kind of cheesy. The character was scenery for the entire session, and now we're going to activate him?

There's also the possibility that the character whose player is absent dies. That really, really doesn't go over well when the player returns in the following session.

The Party: The heroes were in the noble's mansion. They'd arrived at the party at 7 PM, an hour before it was supposed to start. Zavagor used the bathroom upstairs and had discovered the magic toilet that teleported waste to some unknown place.

The heroes ate some canapes and slipped into a hallway. They split up (!) and explored. Zavagor and Lemuel wandered about and found a door to the backyard. They went out there and looked at the windows. They wanted to get into the master bedroom. On the second floor, there was just one massive window, clearly for the bedroom. This adventure has a handy map of the mansion that shows exactly where the windows are.

Finy and Dornella, on stilts and using corpse arms, wobbled around. They were astonished at the number of doors and rooms there were in this place.

The group ended up in the backyard and took off their fancy owl costumes. They decided to try to climb up to the second floor. Finy drank a potion of climbing, scaled the wall and slipped into the window of the master bedroom. The group had established a warning sign if something went wrong: "Hoot hoot." They're owls.

The Master Bedroom: Finy slipped in, rolled an epic stealth check. The master bedroom had a canopy bed and valuable statuettes. He stole one of Mari, goddess of luck in my campaign. It's funny he did that, as Lemuel is connected to her, unbeknownst to Finy.

There were two walk-in closets in this bedroom. Dornick and Varena, the hosts of this party, were each in one getting ready for the party. They were carrying on a conversation. Finy hid behind a curtain and eavesdropped. They were worrying about whether this guy Lord Lethos would show up, as he has a drinking problem.

Finy was able to pretend to be a guard and threw his voice a bit. He made up a story about Lord Lethos causing problems downstairs. Dornick bought it and left.

Zavagor and Lemuel climbed up and joined Finy in the room. They looked around the room and found that there was a safe behind a painting of Dornick. The safe had no lock or dial.

Finy grabbed the handle and was hit with a glyph of warding. They'd eventually learn that this safe was protected not only by the glyph, but also by a unique spell called timed stasis. The safe could only be opened at a time of day specified by the caster. In this case, it would open at 9:25 PM. There was also a password that could open it.
Zavagor took the opportunity to steal a diamond piercing.

Finy got electrocuted for about 10 points of damage. Varuna came out of the wardrobe and was aghast. Intruders! Zavagor cast friends on her and the group gave her this BS story about being members of the cult of Vecna (in this city, there is a huge cult of Vecna that gives out pamphlets).

The heroes fled. They put their costumes on and tried to rejoin the party, which hadn't even started yet. The one thing they had going for them was the fact that the nobles would be looking for two halflings.

There were a number of guards at this party. They questioned the heroes and took Zavagor up to meet Dornick. Dornick took Zavagor's stuff and threw it on the bed. He gave Zavagor a choice - he could be arrested (and be placed in a magic cube) or he could brave... the teleporting toilet. Where did the toilet teleport you to? Zavagor had no idea. I love the toilet.

Zavagor chose the toilet. They led him to the bathroom, but found that it was occupied. Lemuel was in there! He opened the door, grabbed a guard and shoved his head into the toilet, teleporting him to parts unknown!

Battle: This kicked off a sprawling battle by the bathroom and down in the ballroom. Dornella and Finy pulled the cord, which undid their stilt-owl costume. They fought the guards in the ballroom, trying to stop them from running upstairs to help Dornick.

Varuna ended up getting toilet-teleported. Dornick screamed. He shouted that his wife was in the sewers and in grave danger. The sewers in my homebrewed city are full of wererats, a giant waste-eating monster and that drill-machine from Labyrinth.

Dornick ran, calling for a necromancer. In this adventure, there is a necromancer named Jubal. He's the one who cast timed stasis on the safe to begin with.

Zavagor took this opportunity to get his gear and put it on. Lemuel flushed another guard. Dornella and Finy dropped the two guards down below and joined the group upstairs. The necromancer showed up in his party costume, which unsurprisingly was a grim reaper type of thing.

I was nervous about the necromancer. He's powerful! He's on page 217 of Volo's Guide to Monsters.

The heroes ambushed the necromancer. They rolled real high and pulled of an awesome maneuver where Zavagor hit him with a spell that sent him flying into the bathroom and Lemuel toileted him! It was epic.

Dornella was wrestling with Dornick and now the noble was in big trouble.

The group quickly brought him to the room and got him to open the safe with the password. Inside was the Star of the East, and two other very fancy pieces of jewelry.

I thought that they'd leave. But they didn't. They stole all of the valuables from the bedroom, including a massive pile of Varuna's expensive jewelry.

Then, they still didn't leave. They decided, to my surprise, to flush Dornick! In he went.

The group fled the scene. They had used my beloved teleporting toilet to full effect, just as I hoped they would.


I don't think I can convey the hilarity of this session through the typing. The whole thing unfolded and surprised me constantly.

This adventure is designed thinking that the group would be at the party and mingle with the many NPCs. There's a whole timeline and everything. But they were in and out before the party even started. Only one guest had arrived, a bard named Llewel. He walked in to see Dornella choking Dornick with the zombie arms.

The group committed some major thievery and now they'll try to fence this stuff, I guess. They will probably also study the Star of the East.

The Star leads into another Perkins adventure, which we'll start next time!


Breashios said...

Awesome. I love how much fun you have when you run all of your campaigns. I get more of a smug satisfaction from my DMing. Wondering at how they sometimes miss the obvious, see right through the complex and usually overcome the opposition with ease (though bad guys do often escape).

What we do with missing PCs is write them out if I can. Sick, have a patron call on them for a minor duty, once had a character read a random glyph on the wall that teleported him away (but in story context - not exactly random), or got the short straw on who would watch the growing mob of prisoners. If it is not realistic to write them out, they will be played by another player. The missing player has pre-assigned who would run their character in this case, with a backup in case two people were missing. If more than two, and I cannot run a side trek for those present, we don't play. Break out the board games.

Ashley said...

Oh geez... not gonna lie, I still giggle when thinking about that damned toilet. Then there were those zombie satyr arms that Dornella was ridiculously proficient with; I can't believe how high you kept rolling for her. And, okay, the Vecna thing was because I literally went, 'Crap, I don't know what to do', looked at my sheet, and saw I had a pamphlet from the Cult of Vecna on there. It just snowballed from there.

Overall, it was a hilariously awesome session. It had been a pretty tense afternoon beforehand too, to the point that I had almost wanted to rain check, but I'm so glad I didn't. I needed that! You were majorly on top of your game too; you always keep things rolling so smoothly. Thanks again!

Sean said...

Michael English: Thanks! I love it when they surprise me or come up with an awesome idea. Long ago I had an incident involving a player who missed a session. His character was a jerk, so the group threw a hat of stupidity on him, whipped him and threw him overboard. Obviously, the player was less than thrilled, so I've been real careful about handling absent players since then.

Ashley: Ha, it's funny how the Vecna thing came up. I loved the toilet, I kind of had it in my head that you guys could use it the way you did, but I didn't think it would actually happen. Thanks! You were awesome. I have some old players who would be really interested in your character's links to Mari, I think they would heartily approve.