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:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: Over the Edge - Three Bargaining Coins

You can buy these adventures here:

DDAL07-01 City on the Edge
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

This adventure is available to DMs who run games at game stores. It's broken into 5 missions meant to take one hour to play through. If you're going to play in this, don't read it!
  • City on the Edge has a "wide release" on September 5th.
  • Over the Edge has a wide release on October 3rd.
This mission is tied to the Zhentarim, a shadowy organization of villains and vagabonds.

It looks like a page was omitted... the intro. It's weird.. the page numbers are in sequence, but the first words of this deal with the aftermath of accepting the mission. Here's how the adventure starts:

We already know from the intro that we're checking out a tobacco farm, so no big deal.

The group is going to the tobacco farm. Pock-marked Po wants the group to tell the farmers that the son of a farm owner died. He was on a ship attacked by a sea monster.

Po gives the group a magic potion to give to the farmers as a gift for their loss. Ha! That should lead to all sorts of shenanigans.

The group goes to the farm and something's not right. Divination spells don't work correctly.

A friendly couple chats with the group. Wow... this is tough to write about without ruining it. There's a lot going on here... very amusing stuff, also deadly. There's a pseudodragon that heckles the heroes. Tobacco is smoked.

The group meets some other adventurers, named Belleflower and Izzy Bit (a gnome).

It culminates in a battle with some spellcasters. No map, but it's not needed. It's just a farm.

This one is very different. It's kind of like a Twilight Zone episode. You show up and everything's weird, and you need to piece it together before it's too late.

The authors put this together in a very concise way and they packed it with interesting NPCs and events. Very good stuff! The first one is still my favorite, though.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: Over the Edge - Four Angry Snakes

You can buy these adventures here:

DDAL07-01 City on the Edge
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

We're going to look at the second mission in Over the Edge, a module you can get and run in game stores. It's broken into 5 missions meant to take one hour to play through. If you're going to play in this, don't read it!

The first mission was fantastic. Let's see how this second one fares.

If you're an Emerald Enclaver, you get to say hi to Screaming Wind, the tabaxi. She gives the Enclave affiliates a pouch full of ashes and bones pieces - the remains of a dwarf. She wants you to spread his ashes off the cliffs where he was born.

The group goes to the Misty Cliffs to see if it is stronghold-worthy. This place is inhabited by creatures who have protected their home with booby traps.

The heroes need to walk up a steep path on the cliff face. There's a trap, and considering you might fall off the path, it is pretty survivable.

The group explores the misty ruins. There's "choking scarves" trap, where vines shoot poison thorns at you.

The adventures end up in a very unique dilemma. A horde of powerful monsters approaches, saying "We offer you hospitality and comfort in our homes..." and asks the group to put away their weapons.

I am amused at the thought of game store groups attacking 20 monsters. It's beyond foolhardy. Here's a quote from the text: "There is no scaling for this."

Thankfully, the information that can be learned is listed in bullet point form. Basically, these monsters weren't accepted by their own kind, and one of them began having strange dreams that lead them here. We don't find out who or what sent those dreams. Maybe it is one of those lost gods.

We can make a deal with these nice monster folks. If you heal their sick ally and fend off a monster raiding party, the group will get treasure and honorary membership in the clan.

I already feel like this will take a lot of groups more than an hour to get through.

Healing the sick NPC is sort of like a 4e skill challenge. You have to make a series of skill checks. Failing once gives you disadvantage on the next check. Failing twice means the patient dies. I really, really like this.

The climax of the adventure is the battle against the invaders. Not only must the group defeat them, they must convince them that they killed all of the monsters in the misty ruins. Trick the bad guys, basically. That's really fun.

The reward involves over a thousand gold and a couple of potions (good ones).

HEY! Look!

Is that? It can't be. But it is! That's a page number!

I.. I never thought this day would come. It's all happening so fast! Is this real? I can't feel my face.

Good adventure. I think some groups are going to crash and burn, and then give the DM a hard time.

Everything in here is fresh and detailed, no filler. It's a showcase of the new trap system and throws a fun curveball at the heroes. Thumbs up!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Force Grey Season 2: Episode 6

I was hoping this show would give us a look at the tomb or something else, but it seems like this will mostly showcase the unique jungle encounters of Tomb of Annihilation. I do like the group, so this is enjoyable. It flies by.

The Party

(Joe Manganiello) Arkhan - Dragonborn Paladin of Tiamat
(Deborah Ann Woll) Jamilah - Human Barbarian
(Dylan Sprouse) Tyril Tallguy - Firbolg Druid
(Utkarsh Ambudkar) Hitch - Human Rogue
(Brian Posehn) Calliope - Half-Elf Bard

They wake up the next morning, emerging from their burrows.

Tyril notices that there's a tiny creature on Arkhan's shoulder. It's got a mask on. Arkhan uses divine sense, but he senses nothing. It seems attracted to Arkhan or something.

Calliope uses tongues to communicate with it. This thing is a chuwinga, an unaligned nature spirit. Since the undead have infested the jungle, the chuwinga have been dying out.

It goes away. Calliope calls for it to come back. Something is coming - it's running. A tree splinters and explodes and topples toward the group.

It's a triceratops! It's wounded or diseased or something. Hitch hides behind a tree.

The triceratops hits Jamilah but she does not fall prone. Tyril uses his tan bag of tricks... awesome. He pulls out a baboon and yells, "Go, Ookum!" Ookum is smelling his finger.

Ookum climbs onto the triceratops and starts raining down hammerfists.

Eep... another triceratops shows up.

Arkhan hacks into a triceratops and steam comes out of the wound (?). Arkhan breathes fire at it and rolls max damage: 18 points. He did a total of 76 points of damage in this round.

The triceratops turns and spews out white flame. Its open wounds peel back. It doesn't seem to feel pain.

Calliope uses magic to turn one triceratops against the other. He has tongues going - sounds like it worked. No, it made its save.

Jamilah rages, frenzies and recklessly attacks. As she laughs maniacally, she hacks into a triceratops for 18 points, then again for 15 points. Third attack: 15 more points. Man.

Hitch runs up Jamilah's back and stabs at it. He says, "Thanks guys, you're my best friends!" The blade goes through its neck. The triceratops dies as the baboon continues to pound on it.

Hitch tries to leap into Jamilah's arms. She steps to the side and he lands next to a puddle of blood. She helps him up and says, "Don't try that again."

That's where we stop!

The diseased triceratops are pretty cool. I wonder what that's all about?

Dungeons & Dragons: Over the Edge - Five Corpses in Denial

You can buy these adventures here:

DDAL07-01 City on the Edge
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

OK! This is the second Adventurers League module for the Tomb of Annihilation. You can run this in game stores and it will probably be on the DMs Guild soon.

If you're going to play this, stop reading!

This is for characters level 5-10. This first mission is really awesome, a fantastic scenario that is beyond perfect for this jungle setting. I think the title of it should have been something different, it kind of undersells the content.

The Plot: The five factions want to find a safe place to build a stronghold in the jungle of Chult. The factions hired a mercenary to handle this endeavor. Her name is Pozzanna Lordeaux.

Pozzanna will be sending the heroes to check out five different locations where she thinks might be a good spot for a base.

Each adventure also involves a faction-specific mission. The missions involve things like finding an amulet, recovering a dead body, or sanctifying a grave or crypt.

The whole thing starts off with a special introductory section. We meet Pozzanna Lordeaux: Middle-aged, short hair, lots of piercings.

Stuff we learn:
  • Each area is 2 weeks away!
  • Groups have already been sent to most of the areas. None have returned.
  • The heroes get paid 200 gp per successful investigation.
We get quick details of each location
  1. A large clearing near a river.
  2. An old, abandoned merchant house.
  3. An active farm that grows tobacco. It is unknown if the owners are friendly or hostile.
  4. A tower that was once home to a hermit-mage.
  5. A shrine to the lost god, Ubtao.
The group is allowed to pick which mission to go on. Ouch. Get ready, DM, lots o' prep for you.

Five Corpses in Denial

This mission is linked to the Lords' Alliance. Klevin, the Lords' Alliance guy, asks the group to look for a jeweled medallion while they're out there. It was worn by Arreni Goldbirth, an explorer who went to the location and never returned.

We actually cut right to the location. No details on 14 days of travel through the zombie jungle?

The Evil One: This place is sacred to Nangnang, a neutral evil Chultan trickster goddess of cruelty.

The group sees that there's blood and bones everywhere. They find small idols of black stone craved to look like Nangnang.

One idol is bigger than the others. It has three ruby eyes that glow. The brighter they glow, the warmer the temperature gets.

There's an encounter with minotaur skeletons. There's some cool stuff involving the Nangnang statue.

We get notes on speeding the combat up if necessary. I love this idea: "When a skeleton is reduced to half hit points or less, it dies and explodes in a shower of bones and metal..." doing damage to all those within 10 feet!

I really like this area. I'll definitely try to use it.

There's a really cool way to find a hidden "death chamber" here.

This place is great. There are extremely unique ways to open each section of this location.

When the group figures one of ways to open a section, a solid wall of skulls slides open to reveal a chamber. In each chamber, something special needs to be done.
  • Chamber of Blood: There's a trench full of blood and red idols of Nangnang, distorted.
  • Chamber of Water: A pool of water extracted from the dead.
  • Chamber of Flesh: A charnel house.
  • Chamber of Hair: Lots of weaving.
Once something has been accomplished in each room, a passage is revealed that leads to the chamber's center.

The Death Chamber: Some really cool stuff happens and then wights with rubies in their heads attack!

I love this adventure. It could easily be expanded to fill a 4 hour session. Just add in some encounters in the jungle on the way to the location.

If the other 4 missions are like this one, this will be one epic adventure!

The next one has a magic item with a page number. Did we slip into an alternate timeline?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: City on the Edge - Darkest Dreams of the Defiler

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

This is the final of 5 missions in the first Tomb of Annihilation module from the Adventurers League. You can play this in game stores and I think it will be available at the DMs Guild soon.

If the group went through the previous four missions, they can now assemble the Dreamer's Amulet. It doesn't have much power unless a yuan-ti wields it, although it does give people within 10 feet feelings of uneasiness.

The heroes will meet the Ytepka Society, protector of Port Nyanzaru.

We go to the Red Bazaar, which is near the Colosseum. There's an inn known as Kaya's House of Repose, which has been mentioned on a number of shows. It is "opulent".

At last we meet Soggy Wren. Here's his deal:
  • He drinks a lot and goes on "party tours", where he bounces from bar to bar.
  • "Soggy Wren is friendly almost to the point of being rude about it."
  • He can look at someone and tell what they prefer to drink.
  • Has no patience for evil people.
Wren wants the heroes to meet a dude at the Bathhouse to find out what the deal with the Dreamer's Amulet is.

Things go wonky and the group ends up battling zealots linked to the yuan-ti and fighting above a snake pit! There's just one snake in it, but still.

The heroes find some prisoners who are suffering from a sickness... they are "bearing dark thick veins and scaled patches all over their bodies." Turning into yuan-ti!

We get a look at flowers known as "Olarubu" (Vile Beauty). They let out spores that can poison you.

The final battle involve a yuan-ti and "broodlings", which are people turning into yuan-ti.

A decent adventure. I like almost all of the traps and gimmicks in each of these missions. A lot of thought went into them, and it makes most of the encounters feel special rather than filler.

I kind of wish the Dreamer's Amulet had some kind of power. All that work to put an item together, and the heroes can't do anything with it? I'd probably change that.

This thing does a good job of showing off the various locales in Port Nyanzaru. Malar's Throat and Old City are really awesome locations, and I really like Kwayothé the merchant prince.

Tomorrow, we'll look at the adventure for characters levels 5-10 called Over the Edge. Skimming the first mission, I see that it has a "chamber of hair". Should be fun!

Click here to check out the absolutely awesome first mission of Over the Edge.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: City on the Edge - When Death Calls

You can buy these adventures here:

DDAL07-01 City on the Edge
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

Tomb of Annihilation will be out very soon. What better way to get ready than to check out the first Adventurer's League adventure? Today we'll look at the 4th of 5 mini-adventures.

This has spoilers. Don't be a turd.

We visit with Alastar Bol of the Order of the Gauntlet. He's got servants fanning him, which is very amusing.

Residents of the Old City section of Port Nyanzaru are disappearing and then making surprise returns as undead monstrosities! Alastar sent a dude named Derio to check it out, but he never returned. Look like it's up to us to solve this dilemma for a cool 60 gold.

The boxed text for Old City mentions a long, stone-lined pit right next to a road. That sounds cool.

We must ask the locals, angry batman style, to get some leads.

Along the way we might fight some "amplified undead", who are faster and more brutal than their counterparts. They are zombies with a higher speed and claws.

We eventually suspect there are snake-people involved - the yuan-ti, I reckon.

We go into a dungeon.

The Bladed Path: This is very cool. The group will need to figure out a certain pattern to open a door. Do it wrong? "A set of three giant pendulum blades swing down from the ceiling from one side to the other."


Then we hit the final encounter, involving a pit, precarious walkways, and zombies that run real fast. Speed of 35. Yikes.

Very good adventure! I still like the dinosaur race the best so far, but this one is definitely a great low-level adventure for any campaign.

Click here to read about the final mission, where the heroes finally meet Soggy Wren.

Adventures in Eberron - The Elder Brain

We played some Eberron yesterday. I'm a 10th level sorcerer.

We had gone to get a harp for our NPC friend. Last session, we had entered into a house warped by the Far Realm and found the office where the harp was.

The harp was sitting on a desk. Cranium rats started skittering around. I grabbed one and kept it. I stuck it in my bag of beans! I'm sure that will go well.

Guess who popped into the room? A mindflayer. Good gawd! It mindblasted us and only the wizard made her save.

I rolled really, really bad all day today. 3's over and over. It was amazing. I was stunned for the majority of the encounters in this session.

The mindflayer grappled the wizard. You know.. to eat her brain. Yarg.

The fighter snapped out of his stupor, busted out an arrow of slaying and killed the mind flayer.

We had the harp and noticed a weird window. In it, our fighter saw an event from his past. We climbed through.

In this session, we went through surreal versions of events from our character backstories, intermingled with mindflayers and other similar entities.

The Fighter's Origin

The fighter's story is that, in the Last War, he overheard his commander planning to pull off an attack that would lead to a slew of unnecessary civilian casualties.

He did nothing to stop it, and he has felt guilty ever since.

So here we were, outside the tent as his commander went over the plan. The fighter busted in, and after some back and forth, she became a mindflayer. Another mindflayer jumped in, too.

We did better this time around. I trapped one in a dome of force so that we could handle the bad guys one at a time. That worked out quite well!

When it was over, I said in the Sean Connery voice "My friend, there was nothing you could have done." The fighter, who talks like batman from the Christopher Nolan movies, began to cry. I gave him a big bear hug and the wizard got in on it for an epic group hug.

The DM declared that since the fighter had faced his past, he no longer had his flaw. I thought that was a cool idea.

The Wizard's Origin

Then we went into the wizard's past. She has this mysterious Book of Shadows that she won't tell us much about.

We walked into a scene where a band of adventurers were trying to trade with a green dragon - a bunch of magic rings in exchange for the Book of Shadows.

The dragon refused. The party included a warforged who had a baby in a sling. I squinted and determined yep, that was baby wizard. The adventurers grabbed the book and ran. The green dragon turned into a neothelid!

I've never fought one of these before. We came very, very close to dying.

It mindblasted us. Two out of three of us were stunned. It swallowed the wizard, who dropped to zero. The fighter snapped out of it and hacked into it, and was able to get it to barf up the wizard.

Then it swallowed him!

The 5th round in, I finally made my save. I grabbed the wizard, dimension doored out of the room and used a healing potion to revive her.

The fighter was inside the neothelid. We had obtained these yellow potions that are explosive. D&D grenades, sort of.

He used one. The explosion and rocketed him out of its mouth. He was down, but rolled a natural 20 on his first death save.

I dimension doored back in with the wizard and we killed the neothelid.

Was intense!

My Origin

Then we went into my past. My character flew an elemental airship in the Last War. It crashed and my memories are vague. I know that this admiral onboard might have done something shady.

We ended up seeing the admiral grab young me and bring me into the ocean in an air bubble. We have potions of water breathing, so we drank them and followed.

Long story short, he and some sahuagin did a ritual that siphoned the life force from a gold dragon into my character! That dragon was guarding a cave that the bad guys wanted to get into.

We went in the cave . It turns out the admiral is a deep scion, which is some kind of fish-thing that eats aboleth brains!?!

Here comes an elder brain! Yep! We got mindblasted and I was stunned once more. We somehow whittled it down to half its hit points as it crushed the wizard and I in its tentacles.

It stopped fighting and said we have common enemies. The admiral wants the city of Sharn destroyed. The elder brain needs the city... for brains.

We went back and forth a bit. We hesitantly agreed. Then the others quietly started talking about killing this thing! I was a little shocked, but amused.

I pointed to my wand of wonder subtly and look at them for the signal to attack. DM asked me to roll a bluff check. Total of 7. D'oh.

The elder brain mindblasted us and actually dropped the entire party!

That's where we stopped.

We'll be 11th level next time, have no idea what will happen now.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: City on the Edge - Life as We Don't Know It

You can buy these adventures here:

DDAL07-01 City on the Edge
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

Today we're going to check out the third mini-adventure in the first Adventurers League Tomb of Annihilation module. I am guessing this will be up on the DMs Guild soon. It is available to Dungeon Masters who run stuff in game stores.

The previous adventure was ridiculously great. From what I understand, the dinosaur racing rules are actually in the Tomb of Annihilation. I think that most dinosaur races actually occur in the city streets. That sounds like a lot of fun, probably my favorite thing that I've heard about from the adventure so far.

We learn a little bit about an area of Port Nyanzaru called Malar's Throat:
  • Malar's Throat is outside the city walls.
  • Small houses made of wood and patched stonework are on the edge of a ravine.
  • Narrow rope bridges extend to the other side of the ravine, where there are more homes.
  • Several buildings cling to the steep wall of the ravine.
I really like that. Fights on rope bridges are definitely something that should happen in D&D.

And look at that... we kick it off with a battle on a rope bridge. The group meets a tabaxi (cat person) named "Screaming Wind."

The tabaxi names... so many joke opportunities. Let's make some tabaxi names for players to groan at:
  • Packing Heat
  • Looking Fly
  • Passing Wind
  • Pumping Iron
  • Smelling Salt
  • Sharing Stone
  • Crying Wolf
  • Licking Toad
  • Peeping Tomb - I know it doesn't quite fit the theme, but I tried so hard. Tong? Throng?
We meet the group's NPC tabaxi buddy, Screaming Wind. She's got black-spotted fur and green eyes. She keeps quiet and is a skilled hunter. She has a secret, tragic past. She has a VIP membership card to the Emerald Enclave.

We learn that Malar's Throat is getting hit with all sorts of bad stuff:
  • Weird, diseased plants are growing.
  • Undead are wandering into town.
  • Pterafolk have abducted some villagers. A rescue party went to save them and haven't been heard from since.
The heroes are going to handle this. During their investigation, they encounter:
  • Disease-Carrying Insects: The disease effects are very minimal - disadvantage on certain skill things.
  • Okuligbo Weed: When the group runs into a dangerous plant, they need to spot it with a perception check and then make a survival check to identify its properties.This thing is pretty dangerous.
Wow.. then there's an intense scene with a woman who is dragged away. It says: "Sadly, there is nothing the party can do for her." Not in my campaign, pal!

Tomb of Annihilation has a lot of plant-perils. There are matabo vines here given the full trap treatment with a trigger, effects and countermeasures. Seems really cool.
Then we get a final encounter with some grungs (frog-people). There's a chance some party members will get charmed, which is always a tricky thing to handle in a fun way.

There's an aftereffect of the charm. For weeks, you'll have dreams of serpents and a soft voice will whisper to you, urging you to join them in the arm of oblivion. Sounds like some Dendar, the night serpent stuff.

Pterafolk: Pterafolk are mentioned in this adventure, and while you find some pterafolk corpses you don't actually fight any pterafolk and thus we do not have a look at pterafolk stats... yet. Maybe we'll get a gander at them in one of the upcoming mini-adventures.

This adventure feels a little disjointed. A whole lot of different things are mooshed together and it comes off weird. That said, a lot of times when an adventure looks flat on paper, it comes to life when you run it.

I think there should be some more mentions/clues about the grung earlier on. If I was a player in this, I'd perk up at the idea of fighting some pterafolk and then would stifle a groan when we end up fighting grungs. I am not a grung fan! I like Kurt Cobain, though.

I scanned ahead. Each of these adventures only has a couple of monsters. There are pterafolk, but they're all the way at the end.

If you're wondering, they are CR 1 monsters and they have a power called "terror dive", which is like a charge that also give you the frightened condition.

The next one involves undead, looks very cool.

Click here to check it out. It's got zombies that run really fast.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: City on the Edge - Grand Prize of the Oracle

You can buy these adventures here:

DDAL07-01 City on the Edge
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

This is the second mini-adventure from the 1st Adventurers League module of the Tomb of Annihilation storyline. This module is available to people who run games in game stores, and I assume it will be for sale on the DMs Guild pretty soon.

Spoiler: If you might play in this adventure, stop reading! This adventure is awesome. Don't ruin it!

Story: We are looking for pieces of the Dreamers Amulet, an evil artifact that is somehow linked to the soulmonger, which is the thing that is causing the death curse and all that stuff.

We learn that the "Old City" section of Port Nyanzaru has three ziggurats, "...each of their terraces reworked into platforms housing numerous tents and bamboo huts." I really like that.

Our heroes meet with... Pock-Marked Po. He's covered in scars, is blind in one eye, and is tended to by trusty female assistants. A very cool NPC.

He wants the group to join an event and try to win the prize. The prize includes a bunch of gold, a magic object, and "a collection of fine perfumes". Perfumes!

The heroes will enter and compete as a group. The name of their group shall be... the Bladefangs. This whole thing has me dying of laughter.

The Market Ward: We learn a bit about the Market Ward of Port Nyanzaru. It has:
  • Modest homes and shops
  • A public bath house
  • A golden-roofed temple of Waukeen (goddess of cash money)
  • A Grand Colosseum
So guess what we do in the Colosseum? A dinosaur race!
Each adventurer gets to ride an allosaurus. They'll be racing against another team called the "Green Vipers". Each rider gets a "rider's pole" to poke and prod rival riders.

If you kill someone, your team is disqualified. Using elemental or spell damage is forbidden.

A long time ago, I ran a race in an Al Qadim campaign where the heroes were in a race where the mounts were nightmares. I spent a bit of time cooking up a simple, abstract way to handle the race and it went off pretty well. What they have here is a billion times better.

This dinosaur race section is extremely well-thought-out. I am dying to run this. It's written in a very concise, clear manner and there are so many possibilities for cool moments.

On each character's turn, they can move up one position and take one special action such as dash, taunt, trip, etc. Once everybody has gone in the round, they roll to see if there's an obstacle in their way. Obstacles include mud pits and vine traps.

This is really great. I think that any player would love to go through this.

Once the race is done, we go to phase two: The Gladiatorial Arena!

The group fights some dinosaurs and other stuff in an iron cage that has special vines wound around the bars. The vines have their own little gimmick that I won't spoil.

Reward: If the group is victorious, they are brought up to receive their fabulous prizes from one of the merchant princes! It's a female, but they don't call her a merchant princess for some reason.

Her name is Kwayothé. She's beautiful and is attended to by 3 males and 3 females. I immediately had a million idea for this.

So yeah, the group gets their perfume and everything!

Fantastic adventure. Just a few pages long but full of great stuff! Even if you aren't running tomb, the racing rules can be used in any campaign using horses, chocobos, whatever.

Great adventure!

Click here to read about the third mini-adventure. It's got killer plants and a very cool section of the city called Malar's Throat.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: A City on the Edge - A Snake in the Grass

You can buy these adventures here:

DDAL07-01 City on the Edge
DDAL07-02 Over the Edge

You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

An adventure was sent to game stores a week or two ago. This thing previews Tomb of Annihilation and looks like it is the first two adventures for the upcoming Adventurers League season. It's got tons and tons of material from the upcoming Tomb of Annihilation adventure.

I am assuming these will be up for sale on the DMs Guild soon. It's 92 pages long - a total of 10 mini-adventures. The first 5 mini-adventures are for heroes levels 1-4, the rest are for levels 5-10.

Don't Be a Ruiner: Today I'm going to write about the first mini-adventure: "A Snake in the Grass." I'm going to try not to spoil too much, but if you might be playing this, don't read it! You'll ruin it for yourself and/or the other people at the table.

This adventure is about bad guys trying to smuggle an amulet into the city. It's broken into four pieces and is called the Dreamer's Amulet.

It look like each mini-adventure is linked to one of the 5 faction representatives:
  • Order of the Gauntlet: Alastar Bol - Is convinced people are being abducted.
  • Lord's Alliance: Klevin Van'heran - This guy is a jerk.
  • Zhentarim: Pock-Marked Po - Has secret schemes!
  • Emerald Enclave: Screaming Wind - A tabaxi.
  • Harper: Soggy Wren - Displays a "lack of sober wit and judgment", is a well-known local.
I definitely like the name "Soggy Wren".

We learn the details of the death curse. This has been openly discussed on many shows, so I don't think this is new info:

Timing: This is supposed to take 60 minutes. In my experience, DMs running store games take much, much longer than expected. I remember a group in the game store that was still in chapter 4 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen after 6 months of weekly play.

I think some DMs really zoom in on little details and let the players take in the scenery. I can definitely see this adventure taking groups longer than an hour, especially if they're cautious.

The story of this involves the group trying to track down a piece of the Dreamer's Amulet. They end up in a tunnel-type setting which involves mostly traps, hazards, and investigations.

New Traps: This shows off the new style of presenting traps. We get about 4 paragraphs of info - general description, triggers, effects, and countermeasures.

Each trap is very well-thought out. There's a very cool way of activating a secret door, and I LOVE the area that precedes the climax of the adventure.

I have two qualms about this trap thing. When running a game, there's no way you can glance down at these trap descriptions and quickly see what you need to know. I always write shorthand notes. The fact that they stuck the countermeasures (including how to spot the trap!) at the very bottom makes it a real pain for me to reconfigure.

That said, I would guess that there are pluses and minuses to every method of presenting a trap. This method has definitely lent itself to cooler traps without tending toward the mind-bending intricacies of the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (which was hell to prepare).

Maps: Adventurers League maps have, up until now, been hand-drawn stuff on a blue grid. I always wondered why they didn't pay someone to make nicer maps. I felt like it did the authors a disservice.

Well, they kicked it up a few notches. It's print-friendly, so it's not full color, but much better! I'll show a small, non-spoilery piece of the map so that you can get the idea:

They even whipped up a player handout! Pretty awesome.

Magic Items: I have talked endlessly about what a pain in the butt it is that the D&D adventures give references to chapters rather than page numbers. Check out a magic item in this adventure:
It's like a knife to the neck. It would take less words just to write what it does! Ready?

This potion heals you for 2d4+2 hit points.

No page number, no chapter number, nothing! Why bother with the elaborate presentation?

Click here to go to the ridiculously great second adventure.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Force Grey Season 2: Episodes 4 & 5

You can watch these episodes on Twitch right here.
You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here.
You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here.

Getting caught up! These two episodes feature the group going through a series of random encounters in the jungle. It gives a bit of a look into what's in the adventure.

The Party

(Joe Manganiello) Arkhan - Dragonborn Paladin of Tiamat
(Deborah Ann Woll) Jamilah - Human Barbarian
(Dylan Sprouse) Tyril Tallguy - Firbolg Druid
(Utkarsh Ambudkar) Hitch - Human Rogue
(Brian Posehn) Calliope - Half-Elf Bard

Some pterafolk come close. Tyril is still in mole form. One spots Arkhan and swoops down at him.

Arkhan breathes on it and it swipes at him for 7 points. The mole/Tyril attacks and rolls a critical.

The chat is a perpetual stream of the following comments: "Is she from daredevil?" "Is that guy from Zach and Cody?"

Another pterafolk divebombs Jamilah, but misses.

Jamilah pulls out her sword, Lady Deathbringer, and rages. She misses. Hitch rolls bad and falls. He gets up and sneak attacks,

Calliope fires off a lightning arrow and blows up four pterafolk. This causes the bad guys to flee.

That whole episode was a combat. I had a hard time getting into it.

Episode 5

Arkhan scans the area.. rolls a 1. It's 3 hours until dusk. The group pauses for a moment to collect themselves and then continue on for a bit longer.

Jamilah leads the group further into the jungle. They run into a big flower.. looks like there's a severed arm on or near it.

The group thinks a zorbo is nearby. Nope.

Setting up camp, Jamilah is worried about their campfire drawing undead.

Tyril wants to assume mole form and make burrows. What a great idea. 

Calliope plays a super-quiet song of rest. Arkhan keeps watch. Rolls a perception check.. 7. Eep.

Hitch takes watch. He spots an undead creature wandering nearby. It is heading away from the group. Wait.. there's three more.

Hitch wakes the group up. The zombies are out by the river. Arkhan wades in. Hitch wants to ride on his shoulders. Arkhan is not having it.

Arkhan kicks the crap out of one zombie. They spot another one on the other side of the river. It is swept away by the current.

The group goes back to sleep. Hitch is still keeping watch. He hears a dinosaur in the distance.

Tyril takes watch. He sees some trees shaking in the distance. The dinosaur is still out there.

They make it through the night. That's the end!

When do we get to the fireworks factory?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Planescape - The Blood War XX. The Chastity Bodice

Some crazy stuff happened tonight!

Tonight I wanted to finish Bzallin's Blacksphere (a classic Perkins adventure), do a little fun stuff in Sigil, and then check out the planar locations that their new cubic gate is attuned to.

The group had gotten an altered talisman of the sphere (a device that let you control a sphere of annihilation, moving it around and putting holes in people). Bzallin's talisman:
  • Its' made of platinum and it has a black gem in the center.
  • It can cast the identify spell.
  • With this talisman, you don't need to make arcana checks to control a sphere!
  • If you have an aura of negative energy (basically, if you're undead), the sphere you are attuned to will slowly grow in size.
The "no arcana checks" trait is a huge deal. A while back, Theran was trying to move a sphere around while Iggwilv was beating up his friends and he failed every single check. The whole encounter! He has a real hard time moving this thing.

Also, a few sessions ago, Iggwilv stole Theran's talisman of the sphere. Now he has a new, souped-up talisman to replace it. It sets up a really epic potential sphere vs sphere battle.

The NPCs changed everything in this session. They are:
  • Narkel: One of Bzallin's assistants who joined the group.
  • Fall From Grace: The succubus paladin who wears a chastity bodice. As long as she remains pure, she is a paladin. Legend has it that her kiss will kill you in one shot.
  • Iliara: A short asian woman with prismatic hair and shiny black eyes who had been trapped in an iron flask. She knows a lot about Limbo. The group has no idea what her deal is, but they like her. The truth is that she's a black slaad, a very powerful entity.
Black Slaad: AC 18 HP 170 +9/+9/+9 12 dmg + 7 necrotic dmg!
She can go invisible at will. She can cast fly, plane shift and cloudkill.

The Party

(Jessie) Bidam - Platinum-Scaled Dragonborn Fighter
(George) Theran - Elf Wizard

The heroes had just looted the treasury. Bidam had found a replica of the wand of Orcus! Bidam had made a pact with the vestige of Orcus and the vestiges that only he could see gestured wildly for him to take it. This wand can cast a "death" spell.

Theran GIF-in-progress

Bidam has long been aware that Orcus wants to transform him into an undead abomination known as a devourer. In my head, I decided that if Bidam used that death spell, he would transform into a devourer right on the spot.

The group began to explore the rest of the cube. One of the apprentices had fled from the group last session. She alerted the rest of the denizens that Bzallin was slain and the invaders were tearing through the place.

Some apprentices fled the cube. The rest banded together for a final assault.

The group came upon a demon named Vzarro eating a meal. He just kept eating. The apprentices made their move.

Four housecats tried to creep into the room unnoticed, but the group made some high perception checks. These cats each had a collar that allowed them to polymorph. They weren't cats.. they were solamiths! My favorite D&D monster.


The group tore into them and in round two, one of the apprentices entered the room. He has a really great magic item: the cloak of the umber hulk. It lets him turn into an umber hulk!

He made a dramatic flourish with his cloak and transformed.

The confusion gaze kicked in on the heroes' turns. Theran made his save. Bidam failed. He had to run in a random direction.

As fate would have it, he ran into the kitchen, where two annis hags were cooking. They looked at him, he looked at them. Bidam thought quick, and asked them if they were going to be going to the Gloom Meet (a "hag convention" coming up in this campaign).

They were surprised and said that the were. Bidam was able to be cool with them and convinced them to leave the premises without incident.

In the next round, another bad guy entered the fray - a gnome driving a clockwork spider. It has a wand appendage that shot viscid globs. Theran blew this thing up with a fireball. The gnome got out and ran away.

A few more bad guys entered and all were killed.

Through the whole fight, Vzarro kept eating, amused.

The heroes searched the rest of the place and looted a ton of magic items, which I had written on index cards for them. It was a lot of stuff!

Then they turned their attention to finding Bzallin's phylactery. The cubic gate has a button that goes to Bzallin's home in the realm of Taldorei (the Critical Role campaign setting). They hit the button and appeared in a teleportation chamber of a ruined, partially-wrecked fortress.

5 flameskulls guard this place. Narkel told the group that to get to Bzallin's actual room in this place required the use of a red crystal wand. With it, you can say "Bzallin" out loud and touch people with it, they would appear in  Bzallin's private sanctum.

Theran cast locate object and sensed it was in the outer hall, a vast room lined with statues of angry people in loose-fitting garb.

The statues were 30 ashari firetamers, cool NPC people from the Taldoreii book. They can actually turn into fire elementals! The group didn't try to free them, even though they looted a ring that can do so.

The heroes evaded the flameskull guards and found the wand. They used it to go to Bzallin's sanctum.

The sanctum is awesome. Rows of spellbooks! They contain every spell, levels 1-8. That's right out of the adventure. It works out so well because Theran's goal has been to learn every single spell.

There are two "chairs of comfort", magic chairs that let you learn and memorize spells twice as fast as normal.

Also in here was a paladin of good. He was a warforged (a living suit of armor, more or less). He actually worshiped the same deity that Fall From Grace did.

Immediately... IMMEDIATELY... both players said "He's the phylactery."

When planning this, I thought it would be fun to take one of the idea off of the lich phylactery list in Dragon Plus 15. That list is really great. Obviously I went with "warforged paladin.

I'm always up for a dumb name, so this guy's name is: Sir Digip Fingle.
Sir Digip Fingle

The idea was to just plop this in here and see what the group would do. They always come up with something I would never have thought of.

It takes a slain lich d10 days to reform by their phylactery.I rolled prior o the game: 1 day. Of course! Theran was able to figure this out.

Crazy Iliara wanted to kill him and Fall From Grace got mad. Theran started flipping through hi spell books to look for a solution to the dilemma. Narkel was picking spell books off of the shelves and calling dibs.

Bidam took out the replica wand of Orcus and cast the "death" spell. Sir Digip Fingle was dead.

Jessie started laughing. Theran was flabbergasted. I think at this point, he used a spell to destroy the replica wand of Orcus.

Suddenly, Bidam began to change. He shriveled. His scales turned red and black. He grew ram horns. Hi ribcage opened up. He turned into an undead devourer!

Fall from Grace began to weep. She prayed, and turned Bidam, forcing him to get as far as he could from her (which was not far in this tiny room).

Then she walked over to him and whispered, "Forgive me," and kisses him. Bidam rolled a Con save to see if the kiss killed him... it did.

Bidam died!

Everyone was shocked. It was a shock-a-palooza chain of events, where it piled on one after another.

Fall from Grace's chastity bodice turned to dust! She used her kiss, and thus the holy power left her. She was jut a regular succubus. All her work toward atonement was lost.

Crazy Iliara attacked Fall from Grace and dropped her to two hit points.

Fall From Grace cursed at Iliara, and stabbed herself.

Fall from Grace has a demon amulet, which means that when she is slain, she doesn't die. he reforms next to tat amulet, wherever it is stashed.

Fall from Grace actually re-formed next to the amulet once before. Her amulet had been stashed in Shendilavri, the abyssal realm of Malcanthet, queen of the succubi (FFG's grandmother). Fall from Grace was thrown in prison, and a slew of paladins and the group's most hated rival, "the greatest thief in Sigil" Ash Vodiran went and rescued her.

They got the amulet, too. The group probably doesn't remember, but she once mentioned that after that harrowing experience, she'd placed her demon amulet with the paladin lord who lives in the outlands.

After a few minutes of recovery, Theran picked up Bidam's corpse and headed back to Sigil using a complicated process involving the other cubic gate and the infinite staircase.

He brought Bidam's body to a temple of the raven queen, and I got to use alternate universe Evelyn from the waffle crew again.

Orcus and the Raven Queen
Raise dead takes a while. While that was happening.. Bidam was a soul rocketing through the Shadowfell. He and many other souls orbited the spire of Zvomarana, citadel of the Raven Queen.

These souls are filtered into he appropriate plane to begin their afterlife, sent to hell, to mount celestia, wherever.

Once in awhile, the Raven Queen judges a unique or powerful soul.

Bidam was drawn into her throne room and given a humanoid form. She wanted to judge his soul.

For a short while, Bidam has been becoming the living embodiment of the multiverse, known as "rule of three". To have an embodiment die was... not good.

She decided to send him to the place where the freak souls, the unsortables, go to: Vorkhesis, the Master of Fate.

I love Vorkhesis. He is from the shadowfell boxed set.

Bidam, in soul form, began orbiting this 20 foot tall dude with no eyes and a halo of lightning. My Vorkhesis is a bitter, jealous entity who is angry that his mother, the Raven Queen, pays him no attention.

In my campaign, the Raven Queen is "dating" a character from my 4e HPE campaign. He's a shadar kai who wields the Shadowfell Blade from Nightwyrm fortress.

Vorkhesis hates that guy! He wants him dead.
It's been hinted at least that the father of Vorkhesis is Nerull, the old god of the dead. The Raven Queen was paired up with him for a time, and then she killed him and took his place.

In my game, I had established that Nerull was not dead in my Shackled City campaign. In my campaign, Nerull is trapped in an asylum in the prison plane of Carceri. He has a big hole in him, a sphere of annihilation wound.

In that campaign, the group gawked at him. He held his hand through the bars, trying to touch them. The group got freaking out and moved on to the final battle against Adimarchus.

Anyway.. Vorkhesis questioned Bidam about the boyfriend. Then.. he sensed the pact with Orcus. Orcus and the raven Queen are bitter enemies. The whole HPE path is about Orcus trying to kill her! He almost succeeded in my campaign, but the adventurers saved her.

Vorkhesis raised his scythe, ready to obliterate Bidam's soul completely.

Then... the raise dead kicked in. Bidam was back among the living!

Bidam did a status check - it appeared that his pact with Orcus was fading away. He was no longer bound to him!

I had a bunch of goofy Sigil stuff planned. Everyone was kind of.. spent from what happened. I did them anyway:

I introduced Annie, a woman who had been robbed. She proceeded to say the opening verse of "Smooth Criminal" to the group in a regular voice. Then, Eo Kaplan appeared on the scene, to check on his friend Annie. He went "Annie are you OK? Are you OK Annie?"

Stupid campaign!

I should note that Theran tried to ditch Iliara, but she showed up at their home in Sigil.

They don't know that Iliara has plane shift. She knew they lived in Sigil. The heroes are famous, so all she had to do was ask people if they knew where a red elf and a platinum-scaled dragonborn lived and she was on her way.

We did some other goofy stuff with their festhalls and a guru who is trying to teach Bidam to control his junk. Bidam has 4 balls, two of which are from a balor. This has transformed his, uh... Basically, he has a demon/dragon wang. It roars and stuff.

Jessie has been rolling so awful on every one of these "Train the Groin Dragon" sessions that I've pretty much decided that Bidam's dragon junk is simply untameable. It is his id run amok, a force of nature.

The group took a long rest and then decided to check out the places that their new cubic gate could take them to.

6 locations:
  • Taldorei, the critical role setting.
  • The Nine Hells
  • The Abyss
  • Elysium (the chaotic good plane)
  • Limbo
  • The Elemental Plane of Chaos
The group picked Limbo. Iliara was excited.

They appeared in a building inside the pandemonium tone. The pandemonium stone is this huge rock that floats in Limbo. Sometimes, a bunch of slaads fly up to it and sing/croak at it, causing it to vanish from reality, only to reappear somewhere else.

The guy who runs the place warned the group this was going to happen soon. He told them they'd appear outside of time. They decided to go along for the ride.

The slaads sang and poof, the pandemonium stone appeared in a white, timeless void. In my campaign, there are a few time-traveling entities:

Zagyg, the Mad God: He's from Greyhawk. I've used him as a crazy meddler for a long time. This stems from when I was a kid. About 5 sessions into my campaign, a player asked me who the gods were in my campaign. I said: There's only one. His name is Gygax."

They groaned. They hated it! So I eventually made their characters the gods of the world. They lasted about 1,600 years of campaign time, and then they moved on to the Dungeon crawl Classics setting to make room for a new crop of hero-gods, which have reigned in my campaign since 2010 of real-life time.

Norsar the Many: A unique slaad that the heroes freed about 50 sessions ago. Norsar is a time traveler. The group is unaware that slaads believe that there a many alternate universes, and that they exist in all of them. That' why they're so crazy. They want to merge all of the realities into one.

The Chronomancers: A class from a 2e supplement. I had a player make one, based on Dr. Who.

Time Dragons: I've never used them, but I want to.. someday.

Basically, all of this boiled down to the group watching Zagyg give Norsar some kind of artifact. Norsar used it, and merged three realities into one!

This created lots of little changes in the campaign. I wanted to make Umbra the overall goddess of good. So that's one change. Here they are:
  • Umbra is the goddess of good of all the spheres.
  • The goddess of love and healing is gone. Her agents are "love spirits" now.
  • Iggwilv is not imprisoned in Graz'zt's mansion! She's free!
  • Everyone knows that these changes occurred. History wasn't changed.
Bidam was/is rule of three - he died, so three realities "died", too. Worked out pretty well!

On a whim, I decided to see if this merged affected the Fall from Graze situation. I decided to roll a d20. 15-20 meant something good. 1-5 meant something bad. I rolled... a 1.

That's where we stopped!

This session exposed a tricky dynamic. Jessie like doing crazy crap, like the time in Shadowrun that she used a rocket launcher to blow up the house of a crabby old lady, the mom of someone they owed money to.

Jessie likes to do crazy things, and gets a little bummed when the logical, negative reaction kick in. I think she wants a campaign that is a little wackier, where stuff like that isn't taken too hard.

George is a very grounded guy, and is always shocked when Jessie does stuff like that. I think it's part of the fun of the game.

I am going to see if I can find a way to lighten the tone/style in a way that allows for more insanity but doesn't make the game feel like a consequences-free slapstick cartoon.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Acquisitions Incorporated - Enter the Trash Witch

You can listen to this show right here
Season 2 of Dice, Camera, Action just ended, and we got ourselves a surprise! A special podcast D&D game where one of the heroes of DCA joins the Acquisitions Inc team.

This is a hilarious show and you should definitely check it out.

At the end of Dice, Camera, Action episode 60, Strix disappeared, drawn away by some kind of infernal force. In this show, we find out where she went and learn more about her mysterious origin.

The Party

(Jerry) Omin Dran - Half-Elf Cleric
(Mike) Jim Darkmagic - Human Wizard
(Patrick) Viari - Human Rogue    
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer

Omin Dran is flying the airship. He drops K'thriss, who was a guest star in the last Acquisitions, Inc. show, off in the Dessarin Valley. He flies to Waterdeep and leaves Morgaen there.

The group needs to pick up some interns for a new mission. We get into a discussion as to whether the word "mook" is racist.

Omin picks up some interns in a dismissive manner. I think the group makes these people up on the spot. The interns:
  • "Hell's Adjacent" Hibner: A tiefling that doesn't sleep much.
  • Tweed Barsum: A gnome.
  • Alandria Primp: An acolyte in her early days of wizard training.
  • Scubby Hornswallow: A scruffy forest gnome with small, rough hands.
Viari is suffering from the death curse, apparently caused by the incident with the apocalypse dagger. Jim has sores on his body that he is covering with powder, sunglasses and a wig. The wig is of black, luxurious curly black hair. Jim is strutting around, looking good.

Omin has been buying stuff, like how some companies buy medical debt. One such acquisition is an infernal contract, which is a binding agreement linking a soul to the owner.

Wow. We learn a lot about Strix! This is what Omin learned: The Skizzixes were a human family from Sigil that feared annihilation from their rivals. They made a pact with Asmodeus to become tieflings and they were also awarded vassals - devils to serve as bodyguards and assistants.

This contract that Omin has lets you call forth the family's most powerful member: Strix!

This representative of the infernal house is bound to do as Omin commands.

Strix Speculation: I don't even know where to start with that. Strix appeared in Sigil as a child with writing in green on her arm that spelled out "Strix" as her name. People assumed that was her name. Is it possible that it actually said "Skizzix?"

Who were her family's rivals? Was it one of the factions of Sigil? Why did her family turn to Asmodeus? What's the link to the Wachters?

Was the enemy of the Skizzixes wiped out? If not, they would have come after Strix when she was dropped off in Sigil. Maybe they didn't know she had come back. Maybe that's who sent the shadow monster after her... but then, the shadow monster didn't kill her when it had the chance.

Summoning Strix: Anyway. Omin uses the contract to summon her. A pentagram forms and Strix appears in a flash. She's got her staff in one hand and her flying broom in the other.

Strix freaks out for a second. Jim tries to figure out her deal with an insight check. He rolls a 1. He declares that she is a dumpster witch, or maybe a trash witch.

Strix can see that Jim is suffering from the death curse, the same curse that She and Diath had been suffering from.

Omin explains to Strix that her family is in league with devils. Omin was able to buy her contract for a cool 10 gold. Wait.. 9 and change. Strix is insulted. Is there a name on that contract? Who signed it?

Jim has been trying to shake off the death curse by juicing. Strix and the Acquisitions Inc. team get to know each other and compare robots. The waffle crew has a kid-killing robot. Acq, Inc. has fraternized with beer robots.

Omin informs Strix that once this mission is done, he promises not to summon her again unless he feels like it. He might summon her for a snail-eating competition, something like that.

Traveling to Chult: The group flies to Chult, a trip that takes 10 days. Strix sometimes chucks hand-written notes over the side of the ship, hoping to make contact her friends. Jim sees this and tries to be all smooth, offering her a dove. Strix loves birds. She nonchalantly thanks him.

The curse is slowly killing Jim. His max hit points drop by 10. He's down to 28. Yikes.

As they get close to Port Nyanzaru, they see some winged gnashers and they spot a massive turtle in the water.

A creature flies up to their ship. It is a friendly half-dragon with gold scales holding a staff. He is Zindar the Quartermaster.

Jim is very into dragon loving, it is one of his fetishes. People and polymorphed dragons really tickle his fancy.

Omin tells Zindar that they need to find the soulmonger, but Zindar knows nothing. He's a nice guy.

Zindar explains that normal sailing ships pay a dragon turtle in gold and gems for safe passage to the bay. There are pirates out there causing problems for the city, and they have a secret cove. Omin really wants to take down the pirates once the death curse is dealt with.

Skills Assessment: The group asks Strix how she is in combat. She talks about shaping her fireball spells and Jim declares that it is impossible to do such a thing.

Jim realizes that she's a sorcerer. Jim says that she is a pervert. Viari can't believe that Jim is calling her a pervert - he assumes she must be into really freaky stuff for Jim to say such a thing.

The group wants to see what Strix can do. Viari shoves Hibner over the side, and he begins falling toward the ocean below. Strix flies on her broom and tries to grab him. She rolls a 9. His shirt rips and he keeps falling. She tries to polymorph him into a bat. He rolls a save... natural 20. Hibner falls into the water.

Strix has flashbacks to when she accidentally killed Ireena. Viari dives in and they find Hibner in the water, alive and unconscious. Strix polymorphs him into a bat. They bring him on the ship and give him bat CPR.

Strix shuts off the polymorph spell. Hibner gets up and punches Viari in the nuts. Omin authorizes it.

Jim is not impressed with her magic, and he notices that people in the harbor are watching this spectacle. Viari takes off his shirt off, because it is so hot out.

We get a description that includes hairy barrels... or Harry Barrels, the dockmaster. This should definitely be an NPC.

The group lands and heads into Port Nyanzaru, a jungle city where dinosaurs are beasts of burden.

There's a really nice boat with a bright blue sail. The crew waves in a friendly manner. Omin sends them fruit baskets. "A galleon of seamen," Viari notes. Truly exquisite wordplay on this podcast.

Port Nyanzaru: The heroes heads toward Kaya's House of Repose in a nicer part of the city.

A little kid offers her candy. Strix shakes the kid and more candy falls out. Jim's makeup is running.. He has a purple silk parasol for protection against harmful UV rays.

Viari wants to buy some clothes to fit in. He gets a turban and billowing Errol Flynn-style clothing. A long time ago, I read Errol Flynn's autobiography. He once got stabbed and had to run through the streets holding his guts in. He had a big, hairy friend named Dr. Mahamoti that I have based many NPCs on. Amazing book!

Make a Wish Foundation Dinosaur: Ankylosaurs are pulling a ship into a berth. Jim walks up to one of them and puts a hand on it, Jurassic Park style. His handlers poke him with 10 foot poles.

Jim wants to buy one. They go check out dinosaurs for sale. They learn that the city holds dinosaur races. Omin thinks Jim doesn't have much time left, and maybe this would be nice for him.

Jim acts sicker and claims that dinosaur racing might be something he needs.

The group agrees that a triceratops is the way to go. They want to raise dinosaurs. Strix doesn't.. wait.. her infernal contract kicks in. She wants to be pit crew for the races.

Viari feels sympathy for Strix, knowing what it's like to be an intern. He buys her a custom witch hat. It's light and has pouches. Strix cries and says how nice it was. Viari wants a hug. Strix doesn't do hugs. She gives him a weird hand touch.

Jim's makeup is running. He rudely tells Strix that he can give her makeup tips. She casts alter self to look like him and insults him. Jim runs away, weeping, saying that they need to get rid of this trash witch.

The Merchant Prince: They meet with a merchant prince to discuss getting in on the dinosaur races. 

The prince offers them pistachio nuts and the group is all over it, Strix especially. The prince learns that Strix beat the death curse and wants to hear about it over dinner. She panics, and then is relieved when the whole group is invited.

Jim, resentful of Strix, says she's lying about the cure, and also, she can't cast any good spells. Strix quietly sets the bottom of his robes on fire. He snaps his fingers and puts the fire out. He threatens to set her on fire. Someone points out that she's a tiefling - fire doesn't bother her all that much.

Jim quietly says to Omin, "I'm going to roast this pervert." I died.

The Meeting: Later, the group is going to meet with the prince. They're in a tavern. A woman gives Jim a harlequin mask. "Prince Wakanga offers you this gift. A magic item given to him from a friend long ago. It will enhance your natural beauty."

Jim puts it on and it creates an illusion that makes Jim as handsome as he's ever been.

The prince meet with the heroes. Jim is very annoyed that the merchant prince is paying attention to Strix. He finds a picture of himself in the place and offers to autograph it. Nobody's impressed.

Jim "accidentally" spills wine on Strix, but she doesn't notice because she's generally a pretty filthy person. She rings it out and drinks it.

Viari like this prince and gives him a gift. He returns the favor and gives them a spellbook. Both Jim and Strix lunge for it. They roll off to see who is faster. Jim wins. Strix starts crying.

There's these weird rugs with mouths on them. Jim "accidentally" knocks her into one. She fails her save. It's a rug of smothering! It engulfs her.

Omin scolds Jim. Strix escapes it by turning into a cloud. Jim goes: "gross."

The Library: The group goes to the prince's home and checks out his library while they wait for him to be ready. They decide to read some books. Chris wants the group to roll percentile to see what book they find. Seems like Chris has a list, maybe this is something right out of the Tomb adventure. Viari rolls a 100! Wow.

The group learns a ton of lore. They learn about Ubtao, a god who lived among the people, the father of Chult. The Chultans became so warlike with each other that Ubtao left Chult. He wanted them to solve their problems themselves. Ubtao loved mazes and it is said that if you trace a path through one of his mazes, you earn his favor.

The group also learns that there are rumors of a portal to the underworld in the mountains. Lurking there is Dendar the night serpent, who will devour the sun if she is released. Dendar is a god of the yuan-ti.

Bad Guys: As the group reads, 4 assassins creep into the room. They're wearing black and they have wavy daggers. Omin spots them.

Omin is very interested to see Strix's capabilities. Viari warns her - no fireballs in the library. She does it anyway and she shapes the fireball so that it doesn't harm the group or the books. She looks at Jim while she does it.

Jim is not happy.

The assassins are snake people. One tries to charm them. Jim casts magic missile. Strix heckles him for using a 1st level spell.

The heroes pummel the assassins. Viari likes the snake lady assassin. She flees the scene. That's where we stop!


I thought this show was hilarious! Strix vs. Jim is top notch. This podcast was so fun and laid back, definitely makes me want more.

This story will pick up at PAX West, which takes place in a few weeks.