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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!"

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