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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 2

Rivals of Waterdeep - Episode 2: “Hell to Pay”

You can watch this episode on Youtube, or listen to a podcast version!

The party are on the High Road, two days south of Waterdeep. We pick up right where Episode 1 left off.

Aram Vartian - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashborne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Carlos Luna) Nocnoc - Half-Orc Fighter
(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer

We start off with the dreams everyone is having during their long rest...

Selise is a lawyer. The judge declares her clients witches, and they are taken outside to be executed. Selise tries to intervene as they are cut down. One of Graz’zt’s cambions, Devonia, appears (she sounds like Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls), and gives Selise a tome with the words ‘BURN BOOK’ written on it. There’s 999 pages, each with a drawing of a person and the heinous crimes that they’ve gotten away with, as well as their location in Waterdeep.

Shaka puts the finishing touches on a map. Suddenly, the morning mists part, and a black tower rises before him. The tower is said to contain forbidden knowledge from across Faerun, including the true names of demons. Every morning at dawn, the tower moves to a new location. He runs into the mists, but loses his way. He runs into the other cambion, Corsan. Corsan tells Shaka that this is “a preview”, and offers the warlock a book that can answer any question asked IF he does him a favor--bring him a brass cube from the Dragon Hoard in Waterdeep.

Ashborne is playing hide-and-seek with her fox, Chips. She finds a bear over the body of Chips and loses her composure. She leaps onto the bear’s back and tears into it with her claw. The bear runs off, but it’s too late... Chips is gone. Devonia steps up and brings Chips back to life, and says that she can make it so that as long as Ashborne is alive, Chips will also be alive. She also offers to restore Ash’s mutated arm. All she needs to do is bring Devonia a copper box from the Dragon Hoard in Waterdeep. They pinky swear. Ash feels as Chips' heart begins to beat as one with her own.

Nocnoc finds himself at the tavern in Nightstone, and sneaks out the front door. He steps through... back into the tavern. He tries different doors, but it keeps happening, and when he tries to ask for help, nobody looks at him. Suddenly, everything goes dark. He says “Knock-knock”, and Corsan answers, “Who’s there?” Corsan shows him an army as it clear-cuts the forest where Nocnoc’s monastery is located. The soldiers attack the bubble around Nightstone, but as it pops, everything is destroyed. The cambion says it will only take two, maybe three months before human predictability leads to this outcome, but he gives Nocnoc divining rods to help the half-orc find enough gold to lift the curse before that. In return, Corsan wants a copper box from the Dragon Hoard. Uh-oh... Does anybody else smell the seeds of inter-party conflict being sown?

Rinn is an elf, so it is WEIRD seeing other people sleep. He pokes Selise and wakes her up, she grabs his hand. He just wanted to say hello. As Selise gets up, she feels the Burn Book beside her. She opens it and sees that there’s actually 1000 pages--the last one is “the person she’s been looking for”. I think that was entirely improv on Tanya’s part, and Aram said it’s 100% canon. Awesome!

Rinn begins his trance. He sees himself in a store with all sorts of cool stuff, but he has no money to buy any of it! He touches something and it turns to gold. He touches the shopkeep... BOOM, GOLD! Rinn freaks out as everyone and everything around him starts turning to gold. Devonia steps out and says she loves what he’s done with the place. If Rinn gets her the brass cube from the Dragon Hoard, she’ll let Rinn have all one million gold pieces given to free the people of Nightstone...

Perrin sleeps perfectly soundly. He’s never slept better in his life. His boss, Gundren, had a dream though, and it freaked him out. Everyone was fighting a dragon... everyone except for Perrin. The two cambions were there too. Gundren wants nothing to do with this, packs up his stuff, and leaves.

Lliira appears before Selise during her morning prayer, and says that there is a way to replace the good people of Nightstone with the bad people in the Burn Book using the map that Shaka drew last session (the map now has moving silver dots representing the townsfolk on it)! Everyone else wakes up just in time for breakfast, prepared by Perrin’s ‘Unseen Servant’. They discuss their troubled sleep, and the strange gifts offered to them by Corsan and Devonia.

Rinn lies and tells everyone that the demons offered to make it so he wouldn’t feel the compulsion to steal from other people anymore, but Perrin sees through it and gets the elf to tell him the real deal in private. Rinn offers to split the gold half-and-half with Perrin, and the halfling agrees to keep this secret between them.

On the road, they run into Waterdhavian scouts who ask them about Nightstone. They now have an escort the rest of the way to Waterdeep.

As they camp that night, hunters from Daggerford surround them, led by a lord who’s brother was sliced in half when the bubble around Nightstone appeared. They saw the party leaving the village and say that they’re arresting all of them. Perrin casts ‘Suggestion’ and convinces the lordling to leave them alone, but another archer realizes that the bard used magic on their boss and fires!

They fight off the attackers, who flee. The mayor of Nightstone is amazed at how well they work together as a team. Maybe they’ll actually be able to find this mysterious Dragon Hoard and save the people of her village from Graz’zt’s curse after all.

Aram mentioned that we’ll have one more episode before catching up with where the session at the Stream of Many Eyes (which, it turns out, is Episode 4) left off. So far, we’ve been going at a one in-game day per episode pace, and, given that the party have one day’s travel to Waterdeep still, that seems like it’ll be continuing.

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 1

Rivals of Waterdeep - Episode 1: “Deal with the Devil”

This is a prequel to their show at the Stream of Many Eyes (which can be seen here). The party is in Nightstone. They are all level 4.

Aram Vartian - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashborne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Carlos Luna) Nocnoc - Half-Orc Fighter
(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer
We start with Selise, who’s been having visions of Nightstone crumbling under a great darkness. She arrives at the Hall of Justice to meet with an old friend, Vera, to try and convince the church of Tyr to pay heed to her warnings. Vera can only offer a horse and a good word sent ahead to Waterdeep.

Rinn has been hired as the liaison between the human hunters of Nightstone and the elves of the Ardeep Woods. He meets Nocnoc while out on patrol. Rinn asks the half-orc how he got his name, but Nocnoc doesn’t trust him enough to tell that story. They suddenly hear bells ringing from the direction of Nightstone.

Sharavka (’Shaka’ for short) sits on a hill overlooking Nightstone. His warlock patron wants to know more about the mysterious obsidian obelisk for which the village is named. As he is planning a route to sneak into town later that night, Shaka realizes that there is no one on the streets below.

Ashborne stumbles upon Shaka. Her right hand is a claw, but she has been having dreams of herself with her old hand, standing in front of the obelisk in Nightstone. Ashborne is intrigued by Shaka’s map, but he doesn’t trust her. A fox kit named Chips pops out of her bag. Shaka starts crying because Chips is so adorable. They decide to team-up to study the obelisk together. They hear the bells as they descend the hill.

Perrin arrived as part of a traveling show run by Guthren Derthmore, an old dwarf strongman. He is admiring himself in a mirror, pumping himself up for the show in Nightstone, which he calls “suburban Waterdeep”. When he comes out to perform though, there’s no townsfolk. Guthren runs off towards the inn to try and drum up an audience. Perrin hears a guttural growl from behind him, and casts ‘Light’ to reveal... a hell hound!

Selise is galloping full-tilt towards the church, where the bells are coming from. Suddenly, there’s a girl in the middle of the road, and the paladin is thrown from her horse as she tries to stop. The girl raises her hand and Selise freezes in mid-air before slowly floating to the ground. The girl tells her that her “friends” are being hurt, and gives Selise a locket that surges with holy energy. The girl is an avatar of Lliira, the goddess of joy! She disappears.

Everyone converges on Perrin as he fends off the hell hound. Ashborne rolls a natural 1 and accidentally shoots an arrow into the back of Perrin’s leg, but it draws the creature’s attention. Shaka fires an ‘Eldritch Blast’ as it lopes toward them. NAT 20! Perrin casts ‘Shatter’, causing the hell hound to explode into fiery bits just as Selise, Rinn, and Nocnoc come around the corner. Selise heals Perrin. Lliira’s locket multiples on her neck--there’s one for everybody!

The bells stop.

There is a soft green glow coming from the obelisk. Two more hell hounds circle it. Ashborne tries to offer them jerky... THEY ATTACK! There’s a quick battle. Rinn hears faint music coming from the inn. Ashborne sees some kind of script etched onto the obelisk and reaches out to touch it. As she does, she sees a vision of a gargantuan form rising from the ocean--a Kraken! Slarkrethel?!

Rinn and Nocnoc rush to the inn. Every townsperson in Nightstone is inside, getting drunk! The mayor tells them that the party is for “him”--a hot dude in a loincloth who looks like Dorian Gray from Penny Dreadful. Nocnoc wishes him a happy birthday. The man laughs, and says it might as well be his birthday, because he can only be here once per year. Rinn asks him for gold, and the man produces a torrent of coins from his hands.

“You like gold? How much is enough?”


Graz’zt touches Lliira’s locket, and it burns him. Graz’zt’s smile disappears. Nocnoc feels a wave of terror and runs away, telling everyone that they have to leave right now. All the doors and windows slam shut. Graz’zt glares at them. He says that they’ve ruined his party, and storms out of the inn, down towards the obelisk.

Graz’zt shoves a claw into the stone, and it bursts with green light. An oily dome rises from the obelisk to cover the town. Graz’zt disappears. His two cambion bodyguards turn and smile at the party, saying that they’ve doomed the whole town (”1000 souls exactly”) to a century imprisoned here, all because they angered Graz’zt on the one day of the year that he could have a party on the Material Plane. The cambions tell them that for every 1000 gold they bring to Nightstone, Graz’zt will allow ONE soul to go free. THEY’LL NEED ONE MILLION GOLD TO FREE EVERYONE!

They have enough money to save one person. They choose the mayor. Her memory is fuzzy, and all she can remember is that a charming stranger came to town a few days ago. If the party really want to save everyone else, the demons point them to Waterdeep, which is a town where lots of money changes hands.

The party take the wagons from Perrin’s traveling show and set out. The mayor accompanies them, as she believes she can set up a meeting with Mirt the Moneylender (as seen during the session at the Stream of Many Eyes). As they leave the dome around Nightstone, the lockets given to them by Lliira crumble into nothingness...

Dark and Dicey Episode 4

Follow Rina, the author of this recap, on twitter right here.


Nathan Sharp as Pluck the Kenku Swamp Druid
Cristina Vee as Anya the Yuan-Ti Pureblood Warlock
Anna Brisbin as Trixa Teardu the Lightfoot Halfling Barbarian
Hunter Hughes as Kovacs the Half-Elf Oathbreaker Paladin
Zach Callison as Werblund the Deep Gnome Ranger

Kaiji Tang as the Dungeon Master
Where we left off

    At the Stream of Many Eyes, the group  found themselves in a carriage chase as a mob of agents from another party target a magical artifact the Shenanigang currently possesses.
After various shenanigans, they were able to shake off their pursuers. Soon after, their carriage started falling apart, and the dire boar ran into a cart filled with cabbages. The boar trips, flipping onto its back and flinging the carriage and all its occupants straight towards an outer wall of the Yawning Portal.

Thus ended the Stream of Many Eyes session.

Episode 4

The Shenanigang got arrested for property damage. The bag of gold they had found in the carriage was enough for the bail money.

The trip to and from Waterdeep took about a month. Anya had stayed in Fairheim during that time. The rest of them are now approximately 20 minutes out from home. As the magical mist signalling their approach began washing over the ship, everyone made a perception check. Pluck rolled a nat 1! What a wonderful start to the session.

Everyone else notices a small green thing with three eyes and wearing a cap. It is Google McGuffin!  Pluck is the only one unaware of it being there, and yet it sits in his lap. The group does point it out to him, at which point he squawks in surprise and throws it.

Trixa catches Google, and asks where it got it’s hat. Here we learn that Google knits in its spare time, and it makes Trixa, Pluck and Werblund some tiny hats. The group asks it questions, including if it needs to recharge. Google says that it needs to rest like anyone else, but is fresh the next day. After Kovacs confusedly and accusitorily asks it if is suggesting that it is a person, it answers:
“Oh no. I am an ancient and powerful artifact. Here. Have a tiny hat.”

It then asks them to take it with the group as they travel the Blacksteel Isles so that it could expand its knowledge on the area. As the rest of the group talks it over, Pluck attempts to sneak it away to toss out a window. He doesn’t make it very far before the rest of the group notices and Werblund stops him.

Google offers its help in any endeavors the party would need in exchange for taking it with them. Werblund immediately takes Google up on this offer, asking it to find his daughter. It immediately begins glowing green. When it stops it turns towards the Fairheim dock as it confirms finding the girl’s location.

Fairheim looks different. The investments that were discussed at the end of session 2 have been implemented. The Pretty Cook looks like a valid business. The dock is seeing more use for ships coming and going. The orphanage is in operating order, though is still in need of additional furnishings on top of its low-end kitchen and beds. And Anya has constructed a big statue of herself in the middle of town.
Kovacs and Pluck both feel like they should just leave.

The kids playing around the base of Anya’s statue are wearing dark cloaks with little snake emblems on them. It looks like Anya’s cult might have a larger budget now.

As they get off the boat, the cargo door nearly explodes and here appears Sir Piggleton, the dire boar friend! Philbert the tortle store manager also came along with some of the fizzy water supplies, as most of the profits and property of the company had to be sold in order to cover the bail. It looks like the company will have to be remade from the ground up.

Anya quickly comes to welcome the party back, bragging about her successes in Fairheim. A perception check from her shows her a little hat in Pluck’s pocket. She takes it thinking it’s valuable and tries to convince the group to give her a bracelet in return for it. Google says that it could make one.

Pluck tries to deceive Anya into thinking that Google isn’t there and that it was him instead, but Google near immediately ended the ruse. Google has a hard time lying.

Google promises to help get a bracelet for Anya. It also says that it would keep its magic usage to a bare minimum when on the island. This worried Kovacs and Pluck, who tried to put a bracelet on it, but the rock is a bit too small. They’ll need a bit of rope.

Werblund, annoyed, asks about his request from earlier. His daughter is in Thisbinar, with Winkerbean. They will be in Allhaven within six days.

Shady Jeff comes over to ask about the group’s excursion to Waterdeep, but Werblund wheels the conversation back to his daughter. Jeff promises to do some digging for Werblund and figure out information about the Winkerbean circus tent that is to be set up in Allhaven. But in the meantime, leads the group to the now completed circus tent to introduce their new entertainers. They are also now members of Anya’s cult, which is now very popular.

While Trixa tries to figure out different acts they might be able to create and Anya bursts into song, Werblund, Kovacs, and Pluck just leave. Werblund and Kovacs go off to have a of secretive conversation. The two both have qualms against Sir Lucian of Thisbinar, and though Werblund doesn’t like everyone very much, he is willing to work with them in their endeavors if they help him get his daughter back. They plan to go to the smithy to suit up. Pluck eavesdrops on the whole conversation, having rolled a nat 20 on his perception check. His main concern is having Werblund rank everyone in how much he likes Pluck.

Google asks if it could be of assistance for rescuing the daughter, and is quite excited about the prospect. It also mentions however, that Thisbinar is currently closed off from the world, slowing trade and travel down to a trickle. The guard is completely militarized. And to top it all of, Kovacs disclosed that blood magic had been running rampant in the city; demons summoned, humanoids sacrificed, and Lucian himself being imbued with demonic power.

As Kovacs raises his voice angrily as he discloses this information, Trixa and Anya follows them out of the tent as well, leaving the cultists to mill about. Pluck quickly tells one to go learn to juggle and another two to make out or something.

Google mentions Kovacs being responsible for aspects of the political upheaval, which Trixa connected to some peoples’ anger towards him when he introduces himself, and for the secret kept there. Kovacs snaps at Trixa, saying that both the man he wishes to destroy and Trixa have demonic strength, so why should he trust her. This is when Google pipes up defending her, stating that Trixa doesn’t have control over that.

And that Google knows everything about them.

Trixa tries to secretly ask Google how to get rid of the demon. It involves forgiving her mother, which she does not want to do. We also learn that the demon comes out with negative emotions and survival instincts. Pluck and Werblund overhear the conversation, and Pluck tries to convince Werblund to not tell Kovacs for fear of him killing Trixa. Kovacs does overhear that though. Pluck tries to cover his tracks.

Anya also wants to talk to the pet rock. When Trixa finishes the conversation and hands Google over, there was a flash of green in her eyes, which faded immediately.

Kovacs gives up and goes to Ironhoof’s smithy with Werblund. Ironhoof excitedly welcomes them back and gives Kovacs a greatsword made from the silver and adamantite they took from Fizzlepot’s armor. It doesn’t have a name, but here are its stats:

2d6 Greatsword. Heavy, two-handed. Silvered. Adamantite Reinforced: Automatically crits against inanimate objects.

When Kovacs sheathed the weapon on his back, he felt movement behind him. Pluck had appeared, trying to chew on the sword because it is very shiny.

Werblund sells off his meat cleaver, dagger, and chain mail and buys two longswords and a breastplate. Pluck buys a necklace with mazes on it, that could be enchanted if he so chose. Kovacs also sells his chain mail in favor of a breastplate.

Google also wants to get equipment. A tiny sword and shield, specifically. Pluck covers for it, mimicking its voice. They end up taking a letter opener shaped like a sword and the decorative shield it came with. Ironhoof just gives it to him.

As they leave the smithy the kids who are a part of a cult ambush the group asking for presents. Kovacs gives one a shortsword and Trixa gives another a throwing knife.
They’re about to start their “slaves and drugs” chant, but Shady Jeff stops them and they start to chant “peace and love,” though they are exasperated as they do.

The Pretty Cook makes a big meal for them when they return. The menu has expanded into what is considered more normal cuisine, but the Underdark menu is still available. Anya and SnekSnek are eating mice. SnekSnek has a little hat now, which Google had made for him. SnekSnek likes Google.

Pluck goes off to a table by himself to ask Google to enchant the newly acquired necklace to be like the bracelet. He has to make an ominous wisdom saving throw, which was a 12. The rock says that it can’t enchant the necklace by itself, but if Pluck touches it then they could get some help.

When he does, they vanish from the room.

Pluck is writhing around in a chaotic and dark place, unable to make a sound. Google is off in the distance, holding a seemingly friendly conversation with a formless entity that is both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It goes like this for what feels like hours or years.

And he returns back to the room.

Immediately, Pluck lets out a scream and throws Google in a panic. Everyone else goes to alert. Werblund pulls out his swords. Trixa catches Google. Pluck’s necklace is now a +1 necklace of protection.

After a chaotic conversation filled with yelling, Pluck storms away, traumatized. Everyone else stays trying to hash out what happened.

Google’s friend is an antisocial djinn which lives on its own plane of existence. The artifact doesn’t think the rest of the group would like it there based off of Pluck’s reaction.

Google has, however, started formulating the beginnings of a plan to get another bracelet. There are two potential targets: Vigil, the tiefling woman guard captain they had met previously, and Nekko Havenspear, another guard captain that patrols the area and is something of a celebrity in Allhaven. It looks like the plan right now is to have Anya seduce Havenspear.

Werblund reluctantly tells Anya that if she helps in getting his daughter back, he would help her get a bracelet, and may consider her a friend at that point. Anya excitedly tells SnekSnek of this development.

Later, Anya and Trixa go to Ironhoof’s before he closes up shop. Trixa sells a kitchen knife she got from the prison ship’s kitchen. Anya sells the Ring of Bureaucratic Wizardry, and attempts to sell the vial of blood she collected off of Fizzlepot as well. The first was a very successful transaction, but the second went less swimmingly and grossed Ironhoof out, opting to help Trixa instead. She got a battleaxe. Anya tries to get something better than her shortsword, and winds up with a giant mace that functions more as a warhammer. Anya also gets some studded leather armor. Trixa asks for a cloak, which Ironhoof says he doesn’t have any of right now, but if she comes back tomorrow she can pick up a cloak. It’s being made of some of the drapes on the window. Anya also buys a little puzzle ring and bracelet to try to cheer up Pluck. The bracelet is engraved with a personalized message from Anya.

The night is from there uneventful, but they all get a wake up call from Google floating from room to room, excited for adventure with its little letter opener sword and shield.

The plan is for Anya to go seduce Nekko Havenspear. Google magically applies her makeup. As they make their way through the woods towards the waterfall, they come across a cart being ransacked by three lizardlike creatures, and Philbert the tortle up a tree calling for help. They turn angrily. Kovacs tries to intimdate them into leaving, with the help of Werblund. Unfornutately, a 1 was rolled, and Kovacs burps instead. Pluck just hides with a natural 20.

The lizardfolk speak to them in Draconic, and the only one who understands them is Anya. At first she tries to persuade them to leave, but failing that she tries to intimidate them by describing what her friends can do. Upon hearing that Kovacs had been a part of a political upheaval, they became interested. Apparently, their people have been driven from their homes, the lizardfolk people now starving on the streets and outskirts of Allhaven. The reason they are ransacking the cart is due to hunger. Anya wants to help her reptilian brethren, and ends up promising to kill of the Allhavians.

    When the lizardfolk leave, she relays this to her party, and Google confirms. Everyone is annoyed at her in different respects, but Kovacs says that the best way to help them while maintaining the deal is to get rid of those in power in Allhaven.

    A bit later they make it to a clearing that has a river leading to a nice pond with a small waterfall nearby. Nekko is bathing in the pond and waterfall. He’s a classically beautiful man. Textbook, in fact.

 Kovacs spots the bracelet they’re after, and Anya spots a very ornate, nice looking spear. When the items are pointed out, Werblund notes that the spear is well constructed. Pluck just sees the shiny point, casts Pass Without Trace, and goes to take it.

    Werblund gave the bracelet he was wearing to Anya in hopes that she would cast invisibility on someone to make it easy to just steal the items and leave, but instead she went up to a distance close enough to Nekko to cast Charm Person. Exasperated, Werblund goes to take the bracelet.
Both thefts succeed. Whether or not Charm Person succeeded is unclear, but Anya goes to greet the man anyway. A persuasion check and a charisma saving throw later, the man seems to see Anya in a positive light. He gets out of the pond and his bottom half appears to actually be a horse.

Which is where the episode ends! Join us next time to find out whether or not Anya can seduce a centaur, and if the others can get away without him noticing his stuff missing!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hell's Belles Episode 1

You can watch this show on Twitch right here

This is a new show on the D&D Twitch channel that airs on Sunday nights. They are playing through a classic Planescape adventure, The Great Modron March, converted to 5th edition.

Obviously this is of great interest to me, because I ran the exact same thing a few years back and really enjoy seeing how other people play through it.

On top of that, this show features a bewildering collection of players that I either know, have played with, or admire! Shauna plays in my online games and is the co-host of Waffle Talk with me. Lysa is a frequent guest star on my shows. I've had Kayla, Mazz, and Holly on as guests on Waffle Talk.

This group has 7 players! That's a lot. I was wondering if it would hurt the pacing, but it didn't at all.

The Party

DM Mazz

(Shauna) Levity - Tiefling Monk linked to Glasya
(Chloe Christine) Lyra - Tiefling Paladin
(Hadeel) Miga - Tiefling Rogue an urchin who lives by the sea
(Holly Conrad) Durge - Tiefling Bard college of whispers, member of the Dustmen
(Lysa Chen) Mercy - Tiefling Shadow sorcerer from Ravenloft
(TK Johnson) Gille - Tiefling Paladin
(KaylaPentar - Tiefling linked to Zuggtmoy

The heroes are in the grand bazaar of Sigil.  Shopkeepers are touting their wares, a number of dabus are clipping razorvine.

The group spots Chastity, an ally who has been helping the group get acclimated to the city. Levity buys some cranium rat skewers. Miga eats an entire rat skewer in one bite.

Pentar is picking mushrooms off of her body. She holds one up to Mercy, who swats it away.

Gille taps his foot, looks around, wondering when Levity will bring him his food.

Lyra picks through a food stall and buys apples for everyone. She hands them out to the group.

Durge thinks the cranium rat skewer is under-cooked. She's pretty sure Miga will experience the True Death soon.

The group suddenly begins to feel excruciating pain. For some reason, it is relieved slightly when they walk in a particular direction. Mercy thinks Pentar implanted spores in everyone's brain.

The trail of less pain leads to a shop once owned by Durge's uncle, Jysson. He was a clerk.

Mercy opens the door and asks, "Uncle J"? There's dust everywhere. Papers and notebooks everywhere. Mercy is a bit of a neat freak. She screams and shuts the door.

Miga pulls out the rat skewer, ready for battle. Gille thinks that this is a chance for heroics. The heroes cautiously enter the building.

Levity hears a voice that says, "Oh dear, I had no idea that this would happen."

A cat jumps on a table. It's grey. It talks! The cat cocks its head, and asks, "Durge?"

Miga hides and hisses at the cat. Durge shakes its paw. It's Uncle Jysson, in cat form. He explains that he died and became a petitioner for one of the lords in the beastlands.

Then, a book begins to speak. It's the source of the pain they'd been experiencing. It has drawn the group here to speak to them about Automata, the gate town to Mechanus.

There's a face in the book. It explains that its master, Heiron Lifegiver, has a debt that must be repaid. The Book wants the group to travel to the gate town of Automata.

The portal to Automata is in the clerk's ward. The key to the portal is a piece of paper torn perfectly in half with the letter "e" on each half.

Miga and Pentar can't read, so this "e" thing is more difficult than expected.

As the group leaves and hits the streets of Sigil, Miga does some pickpocketing and nabs a cool 13 silver pieces.

Mercy notices in an alleyway that there is someone organizing pens. It's a round ball - a monodrone. Mercy reorganizes the pens. The monodrone has got red paint on him. S3-4N. Heyyyyyy..... wait a minute.

Mercy watches him put things in order. S3-4N has one normal robot arm and the other has a fork hand.

Mercy has one white clawed arm. Her other arm is like stained glass due to a curse. S3-AN smiles. The tieflings like him.

Miga wants the monodrone. It says "Designation modron from Mechanus." Miga sees that his hand is made of treasure.

Pentar licks him and sticks two mushrooms to him. It asks Miga if she's a modron. Miga says yes, she's "Miga 2". Miga shows the group the monodrone and says that it's shaped like a friend.

A door pops open in its side. It has a little... flavor packet... it spices the mushroom and starts chewing on it. Wut. It hands Mercy the rest. It's shiftspice. In a flavor packet. Mercy puts the flavor packet in there.

OK. Wow! Let me explain this. A few weeks back, I ran an adventure called Rrakkma online. I put shiftspice in it, which is a cool item from Planescape: Torment. Basically, you put it on your food, imagine the flavor - and that's the flavor of the spice.

I went on and on about the shiftspice, and the group dared to suggest that it comes in little flavor packets, like mustard at a fast food place. I dramatically informed them that shiftspice only comes in containers like salt shakers - it's too cool and magical to be found in a flimsy little flavor packet.

Since that time, my players have been attempting to do all sorts of stuff with their flavor packets, and every time I have to correct them.

During a recent dinosaur race, the group tried to entice their triceratops mount by dangling food  in front of it - trying to put shiftspice from a flavor packet on the food to core sweet advantage on the check! I was outraged.

So, on this show, apparently there is a modron whose name is suspiciously similar to mine that is dispensing shiftspice flavor packets.

Clearly, I will have to retaliate in some manner on one of my shows, at the very least to clear the air about why the githzerai would never put shiftspice in a flavor packet. I mean, it's just not feasible.

She picks up S3-4N and holds it over Miga. It uses its fork hand to comb Miga's hair. Miga tells it to rest and it shuts down.

The group steps through the portal and appears in Automata, sometimes referred to as "Old Tomato" by the adventurers. All the buildings are the same size. The people walk in neat lines and rows. Most of them are wearing identical grey robes. The group hears a voice declare that "newcomers must register."

Jysson is with the group. He recommends that the group ditch the guards or they'll be in lines for hours. They take his advice.

Miga pickpockets.. rolls a d100. Gets a 69. She yoinks a dog-eared pamphlet containing... modron porn. Oh no.. S3-4N sees it. Its eye goes wide. Can not unsee.

Gille snatches it away. Levity wants it. Lyra advises that Gille hides it in his haversack. The chat has many a title for this pron booklet:
  • "Love Knows No HD Limits."
  • "How to Oil Your Gears."
  • "Two Modrons - One Coupler"
The group nears Fandal's smoked meats. The book says that this is definitely where its makers used to live. The master's name was Heiron Lifegiver.

Miga goes in with some money. She asks, "Is there a wizard? Can I have meat?" The shop was once owned by Heron, but it has been sold. She is told that Heron has been seen at a halfling tavern not too far from here. The Book knows where the tavern is.

The heroes head to the halfling bar, which is sized for small creatures. Levity spots someone she knows - Chastity. Durge performs for the patrons and hands out pamphlets on the True Death.

Chastity quietly advises the group that Heiron is in hiding. The Council of Anarchy is after him. This council tries to keep Automata from getting too lawful so that it doesn't slide into Mechanus.

Chastity tells the group that Heiron is in a closet in a building nearby. It's guarded at night.

The group buys forged papers and heads to the Council of Order building. They make their way inside and find the closet. Heiron opens the door - he's a half-elf.

Suddenly, the door vanishes and he tumbles to the floor. A high elf woman and 8 hired goons are here. The high elf wants to put the heroes in the dead book. Durge says she is so ready to go in the dead book.

Durge casts crown of madness on the high elf and forces her to attack one of her allies.

Miga rushes a guy and and stabs him with the skewer. The guy's eyeball comes out. Good gawd.

The adventurers pummel the guards. Then.. chaos ensues. The people of the city are running around. someone shouts out that the modrons are marching.

S3-AN asks, "What is happening?"

The portal in Automata is open and modrons are pouring through. Hundreds of them. One of the goons snatches the book from the heroes and escapes into the crowd.

Jysson tells Durge that the clerk building in Sigil belongs to her now.


Great show!! Mazz got 7 players through an entire chapter in a single session. That's not easy! Great group, really fun to watch.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Stream of Many Eyes: Day 3

Last night, the day 2 stream ended with the announcement of a second book! We start off day 3 with a discussion of this product.

Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Things that are discussed:
  • It comes out on November 11th.
  • It is a continuation of Dragon Heist. It goes from levels 6-20. It is a deep dive into Undermountain, which sits under Waterdeep.
  • Every floor is a different setting.
  • Halaster Blackcloak is a crazy wizard that has put some really weird things in the dungeon.
  • Every level of the dungeon has a map. Every level of the dungeon is a character in and of itself. Halaster will be watching the entire time. Statues and portraits of Halaster interact with the group. Is he imprisoned in Undermountain? What is he up to?
  • There are portals in each level of the dungeon that pulls creatures from other realms and planes. These creatures try to claim part of the dungeons as their own.
  • Weird experiments by Halaster and his apprentices are scattered about.
  • They left space for the DM to add rooms and areas. 
  • Chris says that there is a lot of fun stuff at the lower levels that are "worth the wait."
Adventure Impractical

Mark Hulmes is the DM.

(Matthew Lillard) Bobo Silvertongue Human Bard
(Taliesin Jaffe) Archie Tiefling Sorcerer

(Sam Riegel) Obby the Rat Dwarf

(Ashley Johnson) Rabbit Yuan-ti Monk
(Clint McElroy)  Merle Highchurch Dwarf Cleric

Archie Vanderflute opens a book, which summons a hooded figure. A secret auction will be taking place and the Magpie's Court. One item up for auction is Dagult Neverember's journals. The group must find the court and obtain the ledgers by any means possible.

We jump right into it with the group chasing a half-orc in a tuxedo. Obby shoots at him and rolls a natural 20. Bobo tries to chase him down but crashes into some barrels. Merle drops and insect swarm and Rabbit sicks her snakes on him. The guy gives up.

Archie sweet talks the guy and asks where Magpie's Court is. It is in a dwarven bank called K'zaar Knox. The banks has only one entrance. The items are stored in the vault, which is a chamber with an 80-foot cylinder drop. If you touch the walls or floor, a magic alarm goes off.

He gives the group his invitation so they an get in. Now he wants to flee the city.

We skip ahead to the heist. Mark gives each player a flashback token. They can use it to declare something they did earlier in the day.

The group wears ridiculous elegant clothes and enters the vault, using the invitation to get in. The guy at the front is a snooty noble named Weigalious. The group calls him "Wiggle".

There are a number of notable NPCs. One is magically disguised. The group casts dispel magic on her. She's a succubus!

An assassin and many guards attack her. She tries to teleport away. Archie goes for a counterspell, and is successful thanks to an inspiring word from Bobo. The succubus looks around, confused. Six dwarven guards proceed to kill her. 

In the chaos, the group makes their way over to the vault. They check out the pressure plates on the wall and floor - if they're touched, a magic alarm will go off.

Archie wants to keep the chaos going, so he casts chromatic orb on the far side of the room.

They hear the auction going on - a talking skull with the spirit of a wizard trapped in it.

The group lowers Rabbit down. She uses an item to levitate the journals into the air. The journals are in a box. They put the box in a baby carriage and cover it with a blanket. There are breastfeeding shenanigans.

A dwarven guard spots the group on the way out and shouts. Merle kills him. Then he casts animate dead on the guard, who is pretty much split in half. Then he uses it to distract the guards who are coming. 

Jarlaxle approaches the group. He wants the ledger. He's got driders with him. Archie creates a minor illusion of the ledgers. He tosses it by a guardian golem. More golems come to life. Jarlaxe runs for the fake journal and the group escapes.

They hand over the ledgers to their boss and are rewarded with gold. Archie uses the money to open a bar - the Greasy Wheel. Obby the Rat wants to train four turtles in ninjitsu.

Rabbit has swanky parties and steals from people who show up. Merle wanders around trying to figure out what happens to his babies. He writes down the story of this adventure and runs into Tom Crooz, famous halfling actor. Pitches the idea and become filthy rich.

Great show! In my opinion, Mark Hulmes is THE best DM out there. He did so much in 90 minutes, the guy is really on the ball.

Dice, Camera, Action

 Episode 96 -Eyes on the Prize
Joining the group is a player from The Adventure Zone.

 The Party

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer
(Nathan) Paultin - Human Bard
(Travis McElroy) Magnus Burnsides - Human Fighter/Rogue

The group enters the Yawning Portal. Durnin, owner of the tavern, lets Waffles in. Strix is allowed to go into the kitchen to cook a pie. There's a person playing a lute. Paultin asks for it, and plays a little ditty. It's good!

Diath sits down with the Zhentarim. Diath shakes hands with one guy who has a ring. Chris says to make a save. Jared gets nervous. Chris is kidding. He's in quite a mood today!

Evelyn is watching Paultin play, hearts are rising up out of her. Simon is missing. Paultin immediately stops and runs off to find him. Simon is safe, he made a friend.

A flying snake swoops into the tavern. It has a message from Renaer Neverember (son of Lord Dagult Neverember, former ruler of Waterdeep). His operatives are looking for the Stone of Golorr. It is believed that Dagult made the stone.

The pie is done. Strix brings it out.

The Zhentarim ask the heroes to go find Renaer. He's at an event called "ChairCon". Yes, a chair convention. People go there and sit. 

This is a high class kind of thing, so the group considers getting nice clothes. Nate wants a Strix makeover montage. Strix is not happy. What does she look like? The group lets Anna decide. Strix ends up with a big collar and a jaunty hat.

Paultin leaves Simon with the kids he made friends with. He gives Simon advice - Sleep dart. There better not be any dead children when he gets back.

Diath is leaving some weapons behind. Gutter asks him what he's doing. Paultin chucks Gutter and heads to ChairCon.

The heroes ride in a coach and are brought to a wealthy area of the city. Through the gate, they see nobles in fine attire. Women in hats. Gardens, tiny brooks along paths that have strategically-placed chairs. This Con is part outside! Men are letting women sit.

The guards don't seem to mind that Evelyn has weapons. Ut oh. Diath is relatively unarmed. Security seems nonexistent. They notice the guard at the front is a poseur. He doesn't look like a trained soldier.

Warrington is here. "Quite an experience, DingDong!"

Paultin approaches a man and asks him where Renaer Neverember is. The man swoons and leads the group to Renaer. Renaer is talking to Travis's character, Magnus. Magnus accidentally knows a chair over, and upsets Renaer. "That's on loan..."

Renaer is playing the piano. Paultin takes out the lute and accompanies him.

Magnus thinks he recognizes Diath. He asks Diath how old he is. Diath had taken a potion of youth long ago, so he's 21. 

Reanaer asks Strix who she is. She introduces herself and he kisses her hand. She recoils.

There are screams downstairs. The front doors slam shut. The group go running toward the danger. Strix offers to protect Renaer.

Downstairs, there's a noblewoman with a third eye. She's looking around and casts her glance u the stairs. Another noblewoman does the same. A door is smashed open. Bugbears and goblins run through. The women point at the group, and the goblinoids charge.

Evelyn and Magnus both have their flaming swords out. Magnus's sword has a scorpion tail on it.

A chair that Magnus made is down here. It is called the "Sitboy 5000". It reclines. Paultin sits in it. Chris wants a sit check. Critical! There's a bunch of buttons on the chair. He presses them all.

Diath asks Renaer if he knows what the Stone of Golorr is. Renaer doesn't want to answer. 

Holly casts animate object on the piano. It goes stomping toward the monster.

Evelyn cuts down a noblewoman. The middle eye on her forehead disappears. Then she kills the other one.

There are 20 goblinoids. Paultin unleashes a level 5 thunderwave that hits 12 of them. A chandelier explodes, raining crystal down on the whole area. He kills many of them. Paultin looks cool.. then he throws up.

Magnus tears through about 6 goblins, his sword does tons of damage. One goblin is left, he pees.

Evelyn is very impressed.

Diath uses his new magic dagger for the first time! Rolls a one. Jared is sad.

A new creature enters the fray. It's a dwarf who is missing a hand - a crossbow attached to the stump. He looks at Evelyn and tells her that the people of Waterdeep must suffer for their greed.

She tells him that "The Morninglord, in his infinite grace, loves even you."

He goes, "I've been wrong all these years." He does so. His name is Naska.

Strix is shocked that Evelyn keeps converting randos.

The animated piano flips over and falls on Magnus. Strix tries to polymorph some goblins into snowbirds.

Paultin gives Magnus bardic inspiration. He throws the piano. He crushes 3 goblinoids to death. The piano is ruined.

One bad guy is getting away. He's riding a zip line down to a coach. Strix gets on her broom. Magnus charges through the stained glass window.

Paultin dimension doors outside. It looks like the dungsweepers guild used their brooms to bar the doors.

The group catches up to the coach. That's where we stop!

Witch of Briarcleft

The DM is Deborah Ann Woll.

(Matt Mercer) Dolas - Hairless Tabaxi Rouge
(Marisha Ray) Gallenda the Lucky - Mountain Dwarf Cleric
(Tommy Walker) Veros - Human Fighter
(Julia Dennis) Human Bard
(Kate Welch) Kathra - Dragonborn Ranger

The witch lives in a ruined city. The heroes are free to keep any treasure.

Aurora goes for walks. When she was young, there was a forest fire. Both of her parents died in it. Now that she's older, she explores the forest. She went in a week ago and never returned.

There is one survivor named Bernard, who talks about a witch. He's "addled".

Aurora is 12 years old. Long blonde hair. Raised by the Brighttree sisters.

The adventurers go to talk to the survivor. He's talking gibberish. They ask him about Aurora. He says she's "up there". The dense thicket of the wood. They can tell he's too frightened to say anything more.

The heroes decide to let him freak out. They want to drag him into the woods and see where he freaks out the most.

Annabella asks if anyone has chloroform. She casts sleep. Deborah says that Veros will need to make checks every hour while carrying him to avoid exhaustion.

The group comes to a section of woods with little carving paths. The canopy is thick, and it is very dark. They travel for a bit and come upon a small rock sitting on top of a larger rock. Annabella thinks this could be a waymarker meant to point the way to the elven ruins. It also might be some kind of witch thing.

The group slowly realizes that they are going in circles. There's some kind of magic involved here. They try leaving things on rocks.. eyeshadow, lipstick...

The crazy guy, Bernard, wakes up and chuckles. He hands them a note that was in his pocket. It's basically the solution to the puzzle. Kate points out that the NPC has taken pity on them.

He helps them navigate the forest. They come to a clearing. There are a lot of vines or ropes dangling down from the foggy treetops. They hear a rumble from up in the canopy.

Kathra is pretty sure these ropes are traps. Disturbing them might cause things to fall on them. They realize that the little girl could probably slip between them easily.

Dolas, the hairless tabaxi, slips through in a super-sexy manner. The group ends up firing a crossbow to cause the trap to trigger safely. Boulders fall to the ground and make a lot of noise.

They continue on. They hear a waterfall up ahead. There's a large stone building covered in vines and a round tower, also covered in vines.

They enter the tower and come upon a circular room with a moon symbol in the floor. There are etchings on the wall. The tabaxi looks them over. they are symbols or runes of some kind.

The dwarf steps on it and takes damage.

They go back outside.. There's some steps behind the waterfall... They go down them... nothing...

The tabaxi dives into the water. The group joins her. They find a way behind the waterfall. There's a cave - inside are cages. In most cages are bones.

One prisoner is not moving. the other is awake. It's a young girl with blonde hair. It's Aurora. She's gaunt, she hasn't eaten in days.

Kasha gives her a carrot. She tells the heroes to hide, she'll be back any moment.

Suddenly, a huge shadow blocks the light through the waterfall. The heroes hide.

The head of a dragon comes through the waterfall. Her wings seem to be useless, burned and ragged. She drags one claw, limply. She walks over to a mound of gold and pulls it around her. It's a green dragon.

Dolas charges the dragon... critical hit! Then Matt rolls all one's on damage. Ouch. The bard hits the dragon with a shatter. Galinda runs over and frees Aurora from the cage. She rolls a 20 to do so.

Aurora says "we have to go right now"

Hmm.. the girl's the witch?

The dragon is telling the group they've done something terrible. The dragon lets them go.

The heroes bring Aurora back to the city. It's her 13th birthday! Matt goes.. "oh no."

That night, at midnight, the two sisters who raised her stand up. All three of them transform into a coven of hags, 12th level spellcasters ready to do the heroes in. End of session!

Deborah's awesome. They should get her to do more!

Jocks Machina

DM: Mike Mearls

(Joe Manganiello) Arkhan the Cruel - Red Dragonborn Oathbreaker Paladin lvl 18
(Travis Willingham) Grog Strongjaw - Goliath Barbarian lvl 16 Barb /2 Fighter
(Ron Matthews) Bieber MJ Timberlake - Aasimar Paladin lvl 18
(The Big Show) Oolok Jotun - Rogue Giant lvl 18

The heroes got sucked into the Shadowfell. There's a tower.

A man with his mouth stitched shut speaks in their minds. He is the Speaker in the Void. His job is to guard the boundary between the Shadowfell and the Shadowfell. A being fled a great battle and sundered this barrier. Something on the other side is coming.

Two of the heroes have been marked. A champion of light and champion of darkness.

The heroes assume that the bad guy here is Vecna.

The Spire of Hope's Defiance. It keeps those in the void at bay. The foe's passage disrupted the magic. They will come to claim the light of the Spire. He warns them that they will be tempted - things that they desire most.

The players describe their characters innermost desires.
  • Arkhan sees a doorway with armies of ancient dragons flying through it, burning green fields all to hell.
  • Bieber is riding his unicorn, full gallop on Moonwalker, giant smile on his face.
  • Oolok the giant has a tear in his eye.. he won't say.
  • Grog sees droves of naked women. They've got mugs of ale and they're fighting to give it to Grog.
The heroes agree that if they all survive, they do Grog's dream.

They check out the tower that they have to guard. There's just one archway and the light within it. The void/tear is about a mile away.

Grog is wielding the Sword of Kas. Wow.

Oolok casts stone shape and actually seals up the entrance. Arkhan casts bless on the heroes.

The group waits. Then they hear the roar of a red dragon,a  servant of Tiamat, forced to serve Vecna. Riding it is some kind of knight with a lance.

Bieber tells the rider to dismount and fight one on one.

Arkhan casts finger of death. The dragon rolls a natural 20 on its save! Arkhan rages.

The knight is a death knight. Lord Soth? Mike says no. Two more shadow dragons arrive (each ridden by a death knight), along with a skull lord. It tells the dragons to ignore the heroes and to take the light.

The high-level heroes proceed to do piles of damage to the undead.

Then.. all three dragons breathe on them! 112 points to Oolok. 168 to Bieber, but he has resistance, so he takes half. Grog made all three saves, so he takes 78 necrotic. Arkhan is not affected.

Grog casts enlarge on himself.

The adventurers eventually defeat the skull lord. Energy coalesces into an entity. The tethers in the souls of the bodies of the heroes are being tugged on.

The heroes tear into the entity. Oolok uses a stunning stomp.

It goes down! Great game!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Stream of Many Eyes: Day 2

OK, day two! A bunch of shows will all link to each other somehow.

Sirens of the Realms

I believe every character in the group is a bard. 

(Cynthia Marie) Girasol
(Krystina Arielle) Orisha
(Ladee Danger) Pearl
(Vivid Vivka) Ghost Half-elf/half-sprite
(Jason Charles Miller) Brig

The heroes are waiting in traffic. Half the payment up front. They tell each other what they've been doing.

They arrive at a manor - they have a gig.

There's a room for the group - their band is known as the Siren Sisters. Their instruments are there, along with water and healing potions. Brig quickly snatches up all 5 potions.

Ghost ends up with food all over her. Pearl casts prestidigitation on her. Ghost has the spell, but can never cast it. Pearl decides to help and pours a drink on her. Ghost struggles... she can't pronounce prestidigitation in real life, which is very amusing.. but eventually, she gets it!

A man approaches the group. He has a platter. His free hand is made of silver. Ghost snatches some wine flutes.

Someone important is here. The Open Lord of Waterdeep - Laeral Silverhand.

The NPC asks Ghost to steal a handkerchief from her. She sings an amusing little ditty and casts suggestion on Laeral. Laeral rolls a one! Handkerchief obtained.

The group looks around and notices some vents behind plants.

Ghost decides to try to fly up in a vent. She's never been able to fly using warding wind, but this time she rolls a 20! She goes in the vent.The group climbs up, too, and together they crawl deeper into the building.

There's a room with robed people wearing masks. One mask is of a blue snake. There's a plague doctor mask and a mirrored silver mask. They are talking about a dragon's hoard - treasure hidden in Waterdeep.

These individuals discuss their chosen agents:
  • Malakon Demodun. A scoundrel with extra-planar help. Not a noble, but has plenty of influence, especially with less well-to-do circles.
  • Tuko Pomoja a loyal and dedicated servant. An aasimar who traded his sword for the path of the fist.
  • Rosie Beestinger! is one.
  • A weaver of fates, elvish bard... Vlanya Umvarra.
The group whispers among each other and it snowballs into two of the group actually fall into the room. Brig quickly casts invisibility on himself. Ghost casts infestation, summoning black spiders.

A magic bean gets dropped, causing toadstools to sprout up from the ground.

In the middle of all this, the group hears their introduction. It's time for them to perform!

The players actually perform the song at the table.

Off the Table
This is a live roleplay session. Everyone is talking abut the Dragon's Hoard. The group is in the Yawning Portal, and their job is to find out more. These are the agents mentioned in the previous session....

 Ruty is playing an NPC - Durnan, the proprietor of the Yawning Portal. Durnan has this weird backstory where he's been alive for hundreds of years and is seemingly immortal.

The heroes order drinks. Durnan seems to know Rosie - most people seem to know Rosie.

Malakon approaches a tiefling. At the table with her is... Diath! Diath is at the table with a tiefling (who is not Strix) and they really don't want to be bothered.

Vlanya approaches some big dudes. It's Minsc! With his hamster, named Boo.

The group realizes that the barmaid (played by Liisa Lee) knows stuff. Rosie gets her to talk. The barmaid says someone stole something from Volo this morning. The thief was... covered in live fish?

Someone enters the tavern... Elminster! Played by Ed Greenwood! The monk tries to engage him but is rebuffed.

The group realizes the menu is coded - they figure out the coded word: Golor.

-- I've been having wifi issues and I missed two shows, unfortunately. From what I understand, there have been no further product announcements. Apparently they've been doing these live "escape room" scenarios between each show. --

Dark & Dicey

Nathan Sharp as Pluck the Kenku Swamp Druid
Anna Brisbin as Trixa Teardu the Lightfoot Halfling Barbarian
Hunter Hughes as Kovacs the Half-Elf Oathbreaker Paladin
Zach Callison as Werblund the Deep Gnome Ranger

Kaiji Tang as the Dungeon Master

The group has come to Waterdeep. They're being led by Topbutton. The sun has set, it's getting a bit dark. The city is on fire! There's smoke.. screams in the distance.

The group is really liking the chaos. They walk along traitor's way, which is usually packed with merchants. They come to Fizzlepot's Lordly Liquids. They see a huge dire boar parked out front.

Pluck tries to befriend it. The boar is intense, but nice.

There's a tortle named Philbert here who manages the place while Fizzlepot is away. The group tells the tortle they own it now and show him their documents. He wants to give the group some samples.

Suddenly, Mark Hulmes creeps onto the stage as his tiefling character. He gives Trixa a stone with eyes on it. He asks her to hold on to it for a time.

The artifact talks. It says it is an artifact of great power. It starts spouting weird factoids, like: you can't sneeze with your eyes open. The group names it Google McGuffin. Apparently its official name is the Stone of Golorr.

Mysterious individuals on horses are riding down the street toward the heroes. One of the riders calls out, "They have the stone! Kill them and retrieve it!"

The group flees on a small cart pulled by the big dire boar. They end up in a crowded street. The riders are gaining on them. Pluck and Topbutton lose control of the boar.. it crashes through some stalls.

Things get worse and worse. They crash through stained glass. Pluck casts darkness. The boar starts running in circles. Werblund casts fog cloud. The cart is weighed down, so the group starts chucking the crates in it - in the crates are bottles of fizzy water.

Trixa finds a sack full of gold. She doesn't want to throw it. They leave the area of darkness/fog.

The riders are closing in. The group tries ranged attacks but they keep missing.

2 riders jump on the roof of their cart. The heroes are able to dump them off.

They are barreling toward a section of Waterdeep called the City of the Dead. It's a massive cemetery.

Werblund quietly asks the stone if it can raise the dead in the graveyard... all of them. It says yes! It will take a few hours, though.

Pluck asks it: "Are we in trouble if we have you?" It says yes. Pluck throws it out of the wagon.

Werblund stops him.
The group argues a bit... Werblund insists that they keep it.

A black griffon soars down from the sky. The boar jumps up and rams/tramples the griffon and continues on. Werblund is losing it.. he starts cackling and yells out, "We're bringing home the bacon!"

The boar tells Pluck that's racist.

Trixa transforms into a demon. The boar stops. Trixa rushes at their pursuers and starts slicing into them. They try to run, but she tears them apart. She turns back to normal and has no memory of what just happened.

Archers open fire on the boar. The boar makes a sharp turn. The heroes make dex saves. Werblund loses his grip on the stone. It falls into a chest and the lid closes.

Their cart is starting to fall apart. The cart crashes... they're right by the Yawning Portal.. that's where we stop!

This page will be updated throughout the day.

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Stream of Many Eyes: Day 1

You can watch this stream on Twitch here.

Check out Nerdarchy's coverage of the Stream here.
Check out Merric Blackman's thoughts on the Stream here.

Lots of rumors running around about what the new story is! There's the whole #NoStoneUnturned story going on social media... one major clue is "Plane Shift". Waterdeep seems to be a major locale, and obviously there's one or more beholders involved.

We start off with Nathan Stewart and Anna Prosser Robinson. They are sitting in a set of the Yawning Portal. Hey! Liisa Lee is there.

Matt Mercer was a creative consultant on the new adventure.

In a little bit, four members of the D&D team will spill the beans on the new products:
  • Mike Mearls
  • Kate Welch
  • Chris Perkins
  • Jeremy Crawford
The Force Grey Cast:
  • Joe Mangiello
  • Ashley Johnson
  • Matthew Lillard
  • Deborah Ann Woll
  • Kate Welch
Tomorrow - Mash-up game. It will be a continuing narrative, the story continues from one group to the next.

Tomorrow, a new group will debut. Rivals of Waterdeep. It's a group from Chicago. This will be their first time playing together.

Sunday will have more games, including Jox Machina - bodybuilders playing D&D.
Players include:
  • Joe Managiello:  Arkhan still has the Hand of Vecna, apparently.
  • Travis Willingham
  • The BIG SHOW from the WWE. 
  • Mike Mearls is DMing. Holy crap.
We walk to another set, where we meet the Neverwinter MMO crew. The new module: Barovia! The tarokka deck is in the game. You have to find the cards and assemble the deck. Madame Eva will do readings for you.

Promotion for the Art & Arcana: History of the Art of D&D. Then we go into a room that has what looks like original paintings by Jeff Easley! The 1e DMG cover, Unearthed Arcana.. There's a dude in a hood. It's Sam Witwer! Murdy Gurdy!

There's a map of the Forgotten Realms drawn by Ed Greenwood when he was a kid!

This book will be out on October 23rd.

We talk with the Girls, Guts, Glory players for a moment, and then we jump over to meet the Roll20 people.

Spoilers are rolling out on other sites. I don't want to read them, but if you're interested, here's what is about to be announced for D&D!

We talk with a company that is making props for sale on the mass market - coins, maps, and more. The company is called Beadle and Grymm's. This box of stuff is $450!

Then we talk with Minsc, who discusses a new Neverwinter Nights game.

There will be a new dice set. This one includes two d20's and a lifetracker - it's a dial, similar to the tracker from Magic: The Gathering.

Then there's a band. We get a graphic: Up Next, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. So.. that's the new adventure! It's popping up all over the internet. I'm trying to avoid reading about

OK. Anna sits down with the D&D team.
  • Mike Mearls - Right now he's trying to figure out 5e psionics
  • Kate Welch - She's co-hosting the Spoiler Swag how once per month
  • Chris Perkins - the STORY ARCHITECT
  • Jeremy Crawford - The Editor-in-Chief
The new adventure: Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

It's going to be out in game stores on September 6th, everywhere else on September 18th.

What levels is it for? Chris Perkins says that will be revealed over the course of the weekend.

Chris says that this is different from the past adventures. This adventure takes the game back to civilization, in an environment that encourages a lot of roleplaying.

It's a toolbox - you get toys as a DM for an urban romp. It's meant to be like Ocean's Eleven - steal treasure and keep it out of the hands of villains so they can't use it for nefarious purposes.

There's no ticking clock - the DM can make it last as long as they want. Chris likes this one because it is not a world-shattering event. It is grounded. You can lose yourself in the city. Waterdeep is a character, it has a personality all its own.

The people of Waterdeep aren't phased by adventuring types. They are used to it. The city is welcoming. If your party is smart, you'll get on the city's good side. If you do bad things, the city will turn on you.

Seasons: Jeremy says that this is meant to be a re- playable adventure. The original Ravenloft adventure changed every time you played it. At the outset of this adventure, the DM picks the villain!

There are 4 villains. The choice of villain determines what season it takes place in.
You can complete an intro quest for a prominent NPC. If you succeed, you are given a "home base".

They built downtime into the adventure!

The Xanathar has a role in this story. The adventure uses some of the mechanics from Xanathar's Guide to Everything. If you start a tavern, you get a rival, that kind of thing.

They are using a lot of NPCs from old products. Laeral Silverhand is the ruler, and was an adventurer herself. Jarlaxle is in it - what's his interest in Waterdeep? Anyone who's read the Drizzt novels - he can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

In addition to downtime being incorporated, they also make use of the chase rules. They expand them to add urban components. There are going to be chases in the city.

There are new magic items in the book. The blackstaff itself is in the book. There are stats for some famous NPCs. Stats for the giant, animated statues.

Volo gives a "walking tour" in the book - the chapter is separated from the rest of the book.

This is not an adventure where you can fight through everything. You will be arrested!

They wanted this adventure to be one that you can play through in just a couple of months if that's what the group wants.

Mike looks forward to seeing what the DMs Guild does with it. To him, success means that the book inspires lots of cool DMs Guild products. Kate wants to see a Cheers-style game, which is the drama between people in a bar (who never leave the bar).

Chris says there were things they couldn't fit. One was a character that they wanted to put in, but couldn't fit. He is now the central focus of the other campaign that is going to run parallel to Dragon Heist (???).

Jeremy wants to see Waterdeep fan art - art of the city itself. What each group's tavern looks like.

There's a Lantanese submarine in this one.

Mike talks about a campaign he was in. The group was struggling against a noble family that nobody knew was evil.

Sidequests for factions - you can get special favors. There are long lists of all the major guilds in the city, how a character can be linked to them, and gain renown with them.

Waterdeep is big - random encounters feel organic.

The book rewards creative problem-solving.

Chris talks about the talent involved: Ed Greenwood, James Haeck, James Introcaso, Charlie Sanders, and Matt Mercer.

After Force Grey, Chris notes that the adventure actually starts with Volo approaching them and hiring them. The villains are very powerful, and nearly impossible to defeat in combat. The group will have many chances to try to kill the villain, but it is not recommended.

Force Grey

(Joe Mangiello) Torogar Steelfist
(Deborah Ann Woll) Jamilah
(Matthew Lillard) Beadle
(Ashley Johnson) Dagney
(Kate Welch) Rosie Beestinger

6 months have passed since Acererak was thwarted. The Open Lord resurrected who they could. The weeks passed in Waterdeep. Jamilah has had a hard time adapting to the environment.

Someone slips each of them a message in their hand. Green Mask Lodge, card's room, within the hour. It has the symbol of Blackstaff's tower.

The group assembles there. Torogar needs some baby oil - he's a bit ashy. Beadle, a dwarf, does a spectacular leap onto a stool.

The group is told by Vajra that someone named Adinus has arrived in town and wants business with the Order of Mages. She asks the group to go there in her stead, to serve as her proxies. She does not trust this man, and his ulterior motives must be uncovered.

Scour the location without raising suspicion and gain proof in his dealings. Reward: gold, influence, and access to the more dubious elements of Waterdeep.

The group isn't so sure if they're right for a stealth mission.

Ut oh... stream died. It's down for about 5 minutes.  Technical difficulties.... no sound.

The group sits down with the dude in question. Toro says he has no friends and that he's a wealthy landowner. Can you recommend a new realtor? Deception check: 10. The guy politely humors him.

Jamilah tries to tell the guy that she's from Cormyr, but clearly she grew up in the jungle of Chult.

Dagney wants to go to the bathroom (to snoop). Beadle loudly shouts that he has to go too.

They're drinking Lathander's Red, a very valuable wine.

A golem serves their food. Rosie is attracted to constructs. She starts criticizing the meal and Adinus politely accepts it. He asks Rosie what her background is. She says she's just a grandma with hundreds of grandkids. Adinus smiles and seems genuinely charmed. He says he hopes to have kids one day. Rosie says, "They're over rated".

Meanwhile, Dagney and Beadle are snooping around. Dagney really needs to her wash her hands. After some snooping, Beadle finds a chest. It's trapped.

Beadle gets the chest open and is hit with poison. He's still up. There's a secret compartment in it. There's a partially-written letter that has evidence of Adinus's illegal dealings. The other is a list of names and orders. They don't recognize the names.

Adinus has a "second", a woman named Mona, who does work for him. Adinus says she's done fine, and hopes she won't screw anything up.

Back at the table, Adinus wants to see the minotaur dance. Torogar gets up, Jamilah joins him. She manhandles the minotaur and dips him. She quietly asks Mona if she has any dresses - quietly inferring that she'd like to talk to her alone.

Beadle and Dagney return tot he table. Adinus is suspicious and asks them if everything is ok. They roll high and convince him everything is fine.

Adinus starts asking questions about Vajra. The group knows nothing about her. Rosie says Vajra has a huge boyfriend. His expression darkens. He's not happy. "Is that her type?"

Beadle starts laughing at him. Suddenly, Beadle is magically silenced. Adinus wants them to reprimand him. Jamilah tries to slap him in the face, he grabs her hand.

Beadle eventually is able to apologize. Dagney shows him some of her creations, as an artificer. He would like to visit her workshop soon... perhaps he can hire her for something.

Rosie and Jamilah meet with Mona in private. They tell Mona they need information on Adinus. She starts talking about a key that he has - the group should try to steal it. It's on him. The group wants the minotaur to seduce him.

Torogar is up for the challenge!! He pours each of them a drink and says, "I'll meet you under the table." They drink. Then Torogar wants an arm wrestling competition. Adinus casts a spell that makes him strong.

Torogar rolls a natural 20! Adinus starts screaming in pain. Then he headbutts him. In the chaos, Beadle snatches the key.

Adinus is angry and impressed. He tells Torogar to sit down, and pours him more drinks.

While that happens, other members of the group creep around and find a secret room. In the secret room is a statue of a minotaur. There's a magic mirror.

Toro tries to join them, but Adinus is insulted. He says he'll join him in the bathroom... Dagney tries to distract him, but he's not happy. Adinus wants to go find the others. He's insulted that they've left the table.

Snooping, Beadle finds books written in some weird language. The script is jagged and ancient. There are other books that have locks on them.

He finds a note that he can read: "Whispers are that the stone lies in the city, right under their noses. Ask around the balls and see what you can find. Saruun would be pleased with your progress." It is signed "O". Symbol of a bull's head with seven pillars behind it.

 Huh... the seven-pillared hall and the Mages of Saruun are from 4e's Thunderspire Labyrinth.

The minotaur statue drops Beadle. Adinus shows up and sees what has transpired and is not happy. Rosie turns and tries to stun him with stunning strike.

Jamilah rages.Adinus magically escapes.

After messing with the mirror for a bit, the group feels that they have what they needed. They return to Vadra. End of Session!

Fun show! Good group! Joe is a really fun guy,.

Dice, Camera, Action

Episode 95 - Specter of the Zhentarim
We get a D&D Beyond video discussing the new adventure. They talk a bit about how heroes won't be able to just kill people murder-hobo style. To me, that's tricky. That's a weird spot for a DM to be in - arresting the group. It's lead to a lot of issues in my campaigns in the past.

 The Party

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

The heroes have arrived in Waterdeep. Warrington Munt is polishing his medals. The giff tells the group, "Dingdong, Pippin, I need supplies!"

The group spots the enemy ship. Then they notice a familiar figure - It's Xandala! Dani Hartel joins us. Awesome! Strix turns into rats and follows her. Xandala approaches the Zhentarim on the enemy ship. Diath quietly moves into the crowd to monitor the situation.

Paultin rides on Warrington Munt's back and goes invisible. Evelyn rides on Waffles with Simon.

Strix hears them talking about some sort of war. Negotiations with the Xanathar were going well, but its paranoia is ruining the chances of the merger.

They start talking about the waffle crew, and how they need to be watched. The captain spots the group. Xandala's job is to figure out what the group is doing. She approaches Warrington and the heroes and asks them what they're doing. Warrington loudly declares that they're looking for guns.

The group doesn't completely recognize her. Warrington introduces the group as "Dingdong, Pippin", etc. Xandala claims to be "Wandala", twin sister of Xandala. No pseudodragon, either.

Diath makes an insight. 5. Anna and Holly both rolls natural 20's. They think she's being sincere.

Suddenly, 3 ogres rise up out of the water. They have gills on their necks. They have balls and chains around their ankles. Their gills flap a little. They look around, confused. Then a voice says, "kill them!"

Who said it? Standing on a crate near the ogres is a tiefling girl, 8 or 9 years old. She has a cleft palate and is wearing tattered clothing. She's accompanied by a baseball-sized beholder, that is slobbering.

Two invisible dwarves arrive, too, and swing at Wandala. She thinks they were sent by the Xanathar.

More goons show up! Thugs with tattoos of third eyes.

Another thing shows up.. a man with no face.. he's got tattoos that sort of draw a face on. He stabs at Diath.His name is odium, he has no eyes, ear or mouth.

Strix tries to polymorph the little girl, but she makes her save. Paultin tries a crown of madness on an ogre, but it mysteriously fails.

Wandala recognizes one of the assassins. His name is Odium.

Simon fires off a sleep dart and knocks out the little girl.

All 3 ogres start beating down Paultin. Warrington Munt says "On my way, Pippin!"

The little beholder fires a ray at Diath. Strength save: 22. It shoots another ray at him, but he makes his save again. Diath wants to kill it. He runs up and slices it in half!

Waffles is wounded pretty bad. Evelyn goes nuts and does a pile of damage to the assailant.

Xandala attacks Odium, who had become a seagull. Xandala hits him with a critical and he crashes on the pier.She follows up with a hold person spell, stopping Odium in his tracks. Wandala looks at the Zhentarim... should she kill this guy?

There's a fear spell on Warrington Munt. A duergar dispels it. Odium is turned back into a seagull, but he is still held.

They hear the city watch's whistles. They'll be here shortly. The heads of the bad guys begin exploding..?

A man walks up out of the water. He's wielding a blue crystal axe. It's called Azure Edge. Evelyn asks him if he wants to hang out. His name is Melune. She asks him to be on the crew's team instead. He says, "OK".

He walks over and kills Odium.Evelyn likes this dude. He smiles at her.

Strix notices the little girl is gone.

Two griffon riders are heading toward the heroes.

A half-orc woman sees Paultin hiding under some crates. She asks him if he's OK. She thinks Paultin needs medical aid. A dwarf comes over. She holds out a hand and tells him she'll protect him. Tattooed on her arm is a black winged snake, the symbol of the Zhentarim.

The dwarf comes over to heal Paultin. She has a holy symbol of a big coin (Waukeen, I think). She heals him for 26 points.

She gives him a card that says "Istrid Horn, Moneylender." It has an address on it. He gives it back.

The griffon riders show up. They're the guards of the city. Melune quietly asks Evelyn not to tell them he was with the bad guys. She agrees. He asks her if she's single. Paultin suddenly perks up and points Melune out to the guards, and they take him away.

The group learns that the Zhentarim were looking at merging with Xanathar's crew. They explain that the Xanathar is tyrannical, but generous to those who are loyal.

Wandala says she's a member of the Zhentarim who would like to go legit. She starts to say that the Xanathar is looking for some kind of stone... the other Zhentarim cut her off.

The group is unnerved to learn that the Xanathar is a beholder.

They agree to meet with the Zhentarim to talk about this Xanathar problem. They really want to go shopping, first.

Strix looted a magic dagger. Once attuned to it, he can make it go ghostly. While holding the dagger, he can cast misty step at will. Each time he does so, he gains 5 temporary hit points. He can use a bonus action to cause it to appear in his hand.

The group wants him to name it. Chris suggests "Misty". The group is not feeling it.

Davel Starsong and Yagra will send a coach for the group.

Wandala feels bad and gives them sutff... a potion of greater healing... gloves of thievery.

The group says goodbye to Wandala. As they head into the city, they see the shadow of a beholder. It speaks: "We're not done!"