Table of Contents - A handy way to check out my articles by topic
My most recent Guides:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
You can reach me at:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 56 - Storm King's Thunder (sort of)

Episode 56: Prime Evil
On twitter the other day, Chris put up some polls on that were pretty interesting. Check it out:

Strix wins! I picked Evelyn because of Paultin, and Drizz't as her fallback option.

Strix wins again! I picked Paultin because he had no problem eating the mother of Waffles.
Strix with a clean sweep. I picked Paultin because he gets drunk and I imagine that's very snore-y.

Anna cooked up some Lathander stuff:

That's when you know a player is 100% in the game. A long time ago, I ran an Al Qadim game where there was all this goofy drama between the heroes. One character decided that since he couldn't get with another character's sister, he was going to commit suicide. The player wrote the suicide note in real life and handed it to me between sessions. He was not a depressed kind of guy, he was just really into the game.

The next session, he got turned into a badger and he tried to kill himself by swallowing his tongue. The player was very insistent that such a thing is possible. The group had a big debate about it and I ruled that the bottom line is, if he wants to kill himself, he'll find a way to make it happen.

The Party

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

The group is in Barovia.... in the distant past, apparently! The dark powers want Paultin to marry an undead lady so that he can be the new evil ruler/prisoner of the realm.

Strix has a witch's broom. The broom's name is Whiskey.  We're reminded that last time, Izek threatened Diath and called him Lorcatha (?) scum. My headphones were all messed up so I got new ones after this show. These earbud things, I'm not a fan.

Strix and Diath appear in a morning-lit rose garden. They hear someone humming. It's "Ireena" (Tatyana - Ireena in Curse of Strahd is a reborn version of her). She's picking roses.

Evelyn and Paultin appear in Castle Ravenloft. A woman mistakes Paultin for the bard performing at the wedding between Sergei and Tatyana. Paultin plays along. She looks at construct Evelyn, and says she has one of those, too. It's a wedding gift. Murderbot?!! 

This mysterious woman's name is Duchess Dorlithia, something like that. I feel like I should know who this is, but I'm drawing a blank. Evelyn and Paultin are brought to another room.

In this room is a woman who looks like Ezmerelda. She's drawing a deck of cards. A tarokka deck! It's a young Madame Eva.

Evelyn says hello to Madame Eva. The woman says her name is Katarina, but she says she like the name Eva, she'll remember that.

A guy with blonde hair enters the room. It's a relative of Paultin's! He as a scar above his eye. Is this his dad? We don't find out this session.

Outside, Strix and Diath watch three people arrive at the castle. It's Strahd, his brother Sergei, and someone wearing a helmet (I assume that's Rahadin, the dude with the howling souls around him). Young Strahd's horse looks a lot like his nightmare. It is Rahadin! They dismount and talk.

Tatyana points at Sergei and declares that he is "dashing."

Evelyn and Paultin really want to see what's in the big box. Paultin makes a sleight of hand check and is able to remove the wrapping paper without ruining it. That's a very amusing use of sleight of hand.

They open it.. inside is Simon, aka Pidlwick aka Murderbot! He's not all creepy and evil, he's a fresh toy, well-painted. Clownish and freakish. Paultin drops to his knees and goes, "my son!"

Strix is able to figure out that the group was sent back in time by a god or someone with a wish spell. She thinks that they might be in a version of Barovia that is locked in time, replaying over and over. Aha... so maybe the Dark Powers sent them here? Or Lathander?

Diath and Strix climb in a window after shooing Tatyana away. Diath is less than thrilled to see Murderbot.
OK. Here's the tempter.

Strix thinks that whatever they do here will affect Barovia only, not the entire multiverse. The characters won't have to worry about being erased. They might be altered (especially Paultin) but no matter what happens, they'll know what they know.

Despite this very clear information, Diath is really wary about changing the timeline. He says that it might undo everything and the group won't know each other. He tells the group that they are more important to him than anything else.

Last session, we had a similar confession from Strix. Hmmm.

The group discusses using... the sword! Diath's sword! The Planecape sword! Evelyn wants it to happen. Strix actually throws it out there that they could use the sword to jump through the portal to Sigil. Wow. My mind is blown.

Diath does not want to use the sword, not at all. He totally shuts it down. OK. We're going to need to petition Jared and insist that he use the sword once every session. You can't tease it like that. It's not acceptable in any way, shape or form! I, for one, am not going to sit here idly by while the mystery of those keys taunts us mercilessly.

Evelyn thinks Lathander sent them here to kill Strahd. Somewhere in here, Strix gets a decoy name: Amy.

Eep.. Rahadin comes into the room. He kicks the group out. They see a magic lute. An instrument of the bards, the Cannith mandolin? I'm missing all of the important words today.

Strix goes to grab Eva's tarokka deck (Eva's gone). Strix sees the formation they were in.
  • Top Card: Two of Swords/Paladin (Evelyn)
  • Bottom: Raven (Paultin)
  • Left: Master of Coins/Rogue (Diath)
  • Right: Five of Stars/Elementalist (Strix)
  • The Card Between Them All: The Three of Glyphs - the Healer  (Lathander?!)
Sergei and Tatyana stumble into the room. They're going to make out! Is Chris going to roleplay it? Will he make the noises? No, they notice the group and regain their composure. Evelyn politely tells them: "So. We're from the future..." I died laughing.
Here's the marionette

Then Strix turns into Sergei and says, "I'm you from the future." Paultin helpfully plays dramatic music. They try to explain to Sergei that he's in grave danger.

Suddenly, a dart sticks Tatyana in the neck. Simon?!?! Simon did that! In slow motion, the group sees that there are three other tarokka cards on the floor:
  • The Tempter (??)
  • The Marrionette (Simon, right? Or Evelyn? Maybe the paladin up there is Sergei?)
  • The Executioner!(??)
Evelyn tries to lay on hands while Paultin quietly disciplines Murderbot. Oh no... it's the bad dart! The death dart! Tatyana's dead.

Strix polymorphs Sergei into a tiny mouse. So, will time repeat like groundhog day? Does the group get to keep trying until they get it right?

Evelyn casts revivify! Tatyana's alive!

Ugh, the noose. Diath will have flashbacks.

To prove that what they are saying is true, Diath shows Tatyana the Tome of Strahd. Awesome idea! Tatyana is shocked - she reads through it a bit, and now she believes the group. Then Simon darts her again!

Luckily, the group has set her up with a protective spell, so Tatyana doesn't die.

Chris points out that there's a third card. Who is the Tempter? It was the Duchess who sent Simon.

That's where we stop.
Strix? The Elementalist.

Good show! The players were really fun together this week. The chemistry in the group just keeps getting better. The group has a good handle on their characters and they're poised for all sorts of interesting developments. The show itself feels like it has a lot of momentum and is gaining a bigger following. It is very fun to watch it grow.

I am really glad that this is a long campaign. I feel like a lot of people don't get to experience 50+ sessions of the same game that often. I know Critical Role is on episode 100 or something and etc, but I think one of the best things about D&D is how deep you can go.

It feels like a real accomplishment when you get a pile of sessions under your belt. The players really get attached to their characters, everyone' s comfortable, and there's a million plot threads to choose from. I guess I hope this encourages people who can do so to go ahead and grind it out every week rather than doing a single session once a month.

What World Are They On? I can not figure out where Chris is going with this. Why is this happening? Chris did mention in the game today that nobody knows what world Barovia is on and he seemed like he wanted the group to leave the castle, although that could have just been to set up the next encounter on the way to the exit.

The world they're in could be anything. It seems like Greyhawk is a logical choice. Or maybe Krynn (from the Dragonlance setting), because Tracy Hickman wrote the original Ravenloft module and he was the co-creator of Dragonlance.

It might be the 4e Nentir Vale. I think I saw someone mention that the raven-thing that gave Paultin the severed hand was actually the Raven Queen. Maybe this is all the doing of the Raven Queen? She hates undead, I think. She's pro-dead, that's for sure.

If we're going to do Tomb of Annihilation for season 3, at least some of that adventure is set in the Forgotten Realms, so I don't think we'll be going on a long term trip to any other world.

Who Sent Them? It could be that Lathander sent the waffle crew back to help them save Barovia for good, but if Lathander could do that, he would have done it a long time ago, right? Maybe because Strahd is gone, the border in the realm is weaker and Lathander can extend his reach a bit more.

It could be the Dark Powers messing with the group. Why would they do this, though? Maybe if the group stops Barovia from forming, then the Dark Powers never get stuck in Barovia? I think the powers want to be there, though, right?

We haven't seen Van Richten yet. There's no vampires here, but if Paultin's dad is a werewolf right now, then Van Richten might show up to try to kill him. That will be really awkward.

Also, maybe we'll see Escher and his buddy Falkon. The group could have a chance to snag young Falkon and undo his grisly demise.


Anonymous said...

Spoilers about the Duchess' identity:

Sean said...

Anonymous: Aha! I should have remembered the name. Thanks

Pedro Obliziner said...

I guess this should be way back in the past, Strahd and Madame Eva have hundreds of years, so it wouldn't be Paultin's dad (and Van Richten).

One curiosity: I don't like watching streams of games, I'd watched Dice, Camera and Action to help me with my Curse of Strahd, but I really like reading your reports and keeping up with the story.