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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Trapped in the Birdcage Episode 1

Trapped in the Birdcage is a new D&D show set in Sigil (!) run by Holly, who plays Strix on Dice, Camera, Action. Let's take a gander at what happened and how it went.

You can watch this show on Twitch right here.

The group is starting off at 3rd level.

The Party

(Anna) Wilhelmina - Human Rogue
(Jimmy Whetzel) Saturn - Human Bard
(Chad Quandt) Reader - Warforged Rogue
(Hadeel) Nejma - Elf Wizard

The show starts off with an intro involving a real-life set piece that Holly made, depicting the spire in the Outlands and 4 hanging cages. It's pretty awesome.

Each hero receives a magic scroll that sucks them into a dark, small room. Maybe a closet. Each scroll has a short phrase on it. I caught one: "I have passed to the innermost portal..."

Wilhelmina gasps, grabs Saturn's arm and tries to pick his pocket. It's the triangle. Saturn is a bard who plays the triangle. Jimmy actually has a triangle and it is tremendously amusing. He admits that it will be an uphill battle to convince the public to buy in to triangle-based music, but he is truly passionate about his craft.

Nejma, being an elf, has darkvision. She apparently just set fire to a circus tent prior to appearing here.. well, someone else did. Not her. We eventually learn that this is, in fact, a 3-alarm fire.

They find a door that opens into some kind of storage area that smells like old books. Yellow and green light. Behind a curtain, they hear clattering - they might be in a restaurant.

They see a black beak - it's a humanoid bird-woman. It's a wereraven! She tells the group to wait right there.

I just want to note that this show has 1,469 live viewers watching right now. Dice, Camera, Action has been getting about 2,300 lately. Holly is tremendously popular!


It turns out that we are in a tea shop. Customers: A bariaur (a goatman/centaur). A white-haired, blue-skinned woman with an owl on her shoulder, writing something. Two burly men with curled horns having a quiet conversation.

The wereraven's name is Crone. Wilhelmina wants to pick Crone's pocket. Sleight of Hand.. 22! She nabs a small plush dog.. kind of ratty, loved like a child. Holly says she has made a list of 100 trinkets to pull from. Tremendous.

Crone wants everyone to share their secrets with each other. Nejma is all ears. Reader, being a very literal sort of warforged, starts his tale with the day he emerged from the forge. He is on a quest to find out who killed his creator.

Crone leads the group to a room down below the tea shop, where there is a massive rotating planar thing known as the pentacosm. This is a magical planar device that has drawn the heroes here. The group has been "chosen" to help with an important task.

The adventurers agree to help. Crone wants to test the group. She says has a bit of a rat problem under the tea shop. She notes that there are also steam mephits down there that steam water for her tea.
Reader sticks a candle and puts it on his head and down we go. Reader thinks that if he makes rat sounds, he can draw the rats out. "Squeak. Squeak."

The mephits are alarmed by the group's presence and attack!  A mephit lets out a blast of steam. Saturn takes 11 points of damage. He's got 27 hit points.

Nejma calls out that she's a bad bitch... she is hilarious. Saturn stabs a mephit through the heart and slays it.

The remaining mephit lets out a burst of steam. Everyone makes their save except Saturn again. Only 5 damage this time.

They cast sleep on the other mephit. It fails its save. Reader thinks that the mephit is a child and he cradles it in his arms.

The group realizes that they don't have a healer and groaning ensues. The heroes are annoyed at Crone. They start heckling her, shouting up the stairs.

Saturn hears something calling his name. Thousands of voices. Now they're calling for Wilhelimina. There's something beyond a door.

There's a rat on Nejma's shoulder... no, there's nothing there.

Reader tucks his baby in to some blankets and puts him somewhere safe. He approaches the door. Burned on the door is the word: "Rats". Beyond the door is a long dark hallway.. a shard of light, black water around some stones.

The heroes try to create a light source, but the light is gobbled up by the darkness in the hallway. Some entities speak all of their names at once.

Reader boldly walks down the hallway. He finds a large mirror that is fastened to a large, iron rat claw.

He sees a vision in the mirror. Rats rampaging through the streets of a city ripping everything apart. They feel a need to consume and destroy. As the image fades, a voice in their mind says, "We are the Us. We know you now. And we will find you."

I don't know if this is a spoiler or not, o skip this paragraph if you don't want to know the deal with the rats. The Us is a cranium rat hive-mind. Cranium rats have psychic powers, and when they get together, they combine into a swarm that has incredible psychic power. They're in Volo's Guide to Monsters and in most 2nd edition Planescape products. 

Wilhelmina tries to remove the mirror from the big claw, but the mirror is fastened tightly. After the group messes with it a bit, it shatters. Wilhelmina feels a rush of cold air. She pockets a shard of the mirror.
The group figures out that this was a scrying mirror attuned to a killer rat-thing.

The group leaves the hallway. The mephit is snoozing. Saturn wants to kick it. Saturn is injured badly and is not happy about it at all. He curbstomps it for 1 point!

The mephit wakes up. It's about to attack. Wilhelmina wiggles the doll she stole at it. The idea of them treating the mephit like a baby cracks me up.

Saturn wants to kick it again. The group isn't having it.

Reader asks, "Are we the bad guys?"

Saturn kicks the mephit and knocks it out. Then he snatches the doll.

The adventurers hear Crone call out "No!" They go upstairs. Crone asks them if they broke the mirror. Nejma immediately sells out Wil.

Crone, dismayed, explains that she used the mirror to spy on the rats, her enemy. Nejma goes, "Maybe we can just tape it back together" and I die laughing.

Crone wants the shard of the mirror that Wil stole. She says she can protect the group from the Us, but that they will need to work with her.

There's a frantic knocking on the tea shop door. It's the bariaur who was in the shop earlier. He's begging to come back in. Crone opens it. The bariaur falls to the ground, a bloody mess.

That's where we stop!


Maybe I am biased because I am a Holly fan, but I honestly feel like she is a natural when it comes to DMing. The whole thing flowed really well, smooth from beginning to end. Holly seemed extremely comfortable and totally at home in the DM's chair.

Any time she needed to look something up, she did it in mere seconds. Clearly she was well-prepared.

I really like all of the players, especially Hadeel. I think she's hilarious and I love her character. 

There are a lot of D&D shows out there, so I get that you might not have time to watch more, but this one was really good. It didn't drag like a lot of them do. I floated through the whole 2 hours without watching the clock at all.

You won't be overburdened with Planescape lore, either. Holly kept it simple, which I think is smart. The factions, the Lady, the layout of the city, the Outlands, and all of that stuff is a bit complicated. Easing the players and the viewers in to the Planescape experience seems like a good decision.

Check it out! It's good stuff and a nice way to learn about, or get re-acquainted with, Planescape.


Anonymous said...

I think the white-haired, blue-skinned woman is probably supposed to be drow. At least that's what I thought, I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

This is a really nice summary. Thank you for making it :)