|(from the 5e Monster Manual)
The cult strikes back, and then the party re-strikes back. We have Asa and Alex in the same room this time. Lots of quality banter this time. They really are OP for this content, which leads to some amusing moments. Less karaoke this episode.
- Daniel (DM)
- Jim (Dave the bard)
- Tim (Bart the pally)
- Moose (Keith the TWBB)
- Alex (Jep the necromancer)
- Asa (Phirrip the beastmaster ranger)
- I Disbelieve the Helmet-Inn
- It Bursts from the Ground and Immediately Dies
- Welcome to the Surface
- Welcome Topside, Varmint
- I Live in a Home of Bones
- Like a Thick Gary Oldman
- Loincloths & Laurels
|fighting in the fire cult tower
Alex joins us — vengeance on the fire cult — we talk about our favorite albums.
Musical shownotes after the break:
We took a detour @ 1:42:12 to talk about our favorite albums ever, no matter how embarrassing. A lot of them were from when we were in high school; so please do excuse us.
- Dashboard Confessional
- The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Fever to Tell: Maps
- Show Your Bones
- Mewithoutyou: (A–B Life) Bullet to Binary
- Living Sacrifice
- Michael Jackson: Thriller
- DC Talk
- Lil Wayne
- Led Zeppelin
- OC Supertones
- Project 86
We also mentioned Mallory Ortberg
from the Toast, the best humor writer today.
This session was not recorded.
We played at a FLGS with an abnormal player configuration.
The plan to kill the Hezrou went off well.
Then some cultists ran to the lower level with our characters in pursuit. They overheard the passwords and recited them to the mezzoloth who guarded the stairs.
They did not go down the stairs. The mezzoloth was cool with them. He was just doing his job. They hung out.
Then they decided to kill the dragon turtle in the lake.
One zombie used as bait. Skeleton archers with water walking shot at the thing when it surfaced but soon were destroyed by its steam breath.
The party retreated and reconsidered.
Where can we buy poison?
3 days north, city called Yartar. It’s mobbed up.
They go, meet Davkas’s contact Side Job (Job as in Job Psalms Proverbs). They give a +1 dagger and 850gp for two barrels of mixed poison. And 50g for 3 fresh corpses to raise.
They tripped on mushrooms. The necromancer saw a roiling black ocean of flesh. When he went to walk on it, hands emerges from it to form a bridge. He crossed. Davkas saw himself back in prison, but it was a very very small prison.
Back in the dungeon, the poison is injected into bladders. The bladders tied to zombies. Remaining poison injected into zombie bodies and sewn up mouths.
The corpses kicked into the lake.
The dragon turtle consumes them and dies within the minute.
It was good poison.
They plunder its hoard and end up with a slim profit and a bunch of XP.
|a wild ettin has appeared
The audio quality on this episode is really bad.
We did a double-hangouts, and something was wrong.
- Daniel (DM)
- Tim (Bart the pally)
- Jim (Dave the bard)
- Asa, via hangouts (Phirrip the beastmaster ranger + Pookers)
- Josh, via hangouts (Winston the clizzard [cleric/wizard multiclass])
If you brave the audio quality, you will encounter the following mildly amusing highlights:
- Two large heaps of dank memes
- Welcome to Maths & Maths
- WHERE’S THE QUAY?!?
- “The time is now.”
We cleared out most of the level 2 water dungeon and allied with a sea hag.
|Dave & Bart assault the water cult church
Scouting Rivergard Keep — I’m Dave; I’ve got a strong arm and a sharp sword — infiltrating the water cult — potty breaks as leet strat — stealth action game — mercenaries are great; they will work for you for money — how to kill a boss without an attack roll — the way below opens.
After our TPK in the last episode, we rolled in with one new toon, one old toon, and only two players—not for the campaign, just for this session.
The Adventures of Dave & Bart begins.
|Davkas (“Dave”), Bard 6 (Jim)
|Bart, Paladin 4 / Fighter 2 (Tim)
This was a very different style of play than what we’ve done before. It was mostly stealth, infiltration, and in-character roleplaying in order to blend in and bluff, mostly on the part of Jim, via his old debuff/heal bard Davkas.
After scouting Rivergard Keep, which is the first tier water cult complex, the party went room to room, blasting mobs like the seasoned pros they are.
If you want to leave a social situation, say because you’re actually trying to infiltrate and dispatch the people you’re with, excusing yourself and saying that you have to take a dump is really a dope strat, as you will see no less than three times in this episode.
In the process, they convinced some of the mercs that the cult had hired to join up with them, which has proven so far and will prove in later episodes to be an excellent tactic and reliable laugh.
By the end of the episode, the level is clear. Next time, we descend with a fuller party to tackle the water cult proper.
Approaching the not ominously burning wicker man hippie druid festival — drug shenanigans — making the assault — 80d6 fire damage, save for half — the future.
A brutal, brutal episode.
The future direction of the show was in doubt after this one, but, fortunately, we decided to soldier on with Princes of the Apocalpyse, despite our reservations about it.
Also: if you have a wizard, get fireball at level 3.
You can rain 16d6 of destruction on you enemies over two rounds. Who can say no to that?
As a direct result of this episode, Tim’s next character took the mage slayer feat.
That’s what I like to see.
New thing this time!
The Abridged Version
We’ve added an abridged version of the episode, which eliminates all the combat dice-rolling wargamey bits. The full and abridged versions will live in the same feed and should otherwise be identical. There’s a chirp tone to indicate that a combat has been skipped over. Starting with Episode 16, we should verbally indicate as well.
Onto the Notes
Druid-barding — the Mearls-Meld — hirelings Jimmy & Timmy, Pip & Pop, Genevieve & Alistair — discussion of side treks — fight 40 orcs y/n — we change the hexmap scale — our next season — fire cultists — Forgotten Realms names need work — tracking orc captives — surprise — orcish syllabic naming conventions.
“Hand-holding twin albinos.”
“They polish continually.”
We changed the hexmap scale from 10 miles to 1 mile. The whole module makes way more sense that way. Highly recommended.
Next season of the podcast, Jim might DM Out of the Abyss, the new new WotC module.
From now on, when I roll random encounter checks, I’m going to roll to see what table I roll the encounters from: the low level table or the high level table.
Here’s how I’m going to do it:
- roll a d20
- if the roll is OVER the level of the highest level PC in the party, use the Early Travels (low level) table
- else, use the Later Travels (high level) table
This means you have a linearly increasing chance of having high level encounters as the party increases in level.
|Shadow fails save vs Ironfang‘s flaw
|it’s over before the first round is
False welcome — long, intense battle — achievement unlocked.
This was some fight.
The party walked into a trap. I thought it was an obvious setup, but apparently people can’t read minds?
In any case, the baddies came in waves and surrounded the party.
All the mobs in the whole place came in to fight.
But my players have excellent tactics. This ain’t their first rodeo.
As you see below, they placed Geth in a side doorway, and Gallidon cast sanctuary on him, which means mobs have to make a Wis save to even attack Geth. On top of that, Geth dodged for his actions, which means mobs have disadvantage to attack him.
I don’t think he got hit after that.
Meanwhile, Shadow and Gallidon just wore the mobs down.
Until they routed. But, as one of the knights tried to escape, Geth shot out his vulture-mount from beneath him:
This episode is mostly fighting, but it’s a really good fight.
Picking off gargoyles — hellhounds — shepherds abiding in the hills — Harburk the Impaler — videogame excursus.
The bit when the party returns to Red Larch and finds that Harburk (“Hauberk” in our game) has taken over with Jalessa as mayor—that’s not really in the book. Not with as many umlauts anyway.
Here’s what the book says (emphases and bracketed comments mine):
. . . the folk of Red Larch are scandalized to learn that many of their most respected fellow citizens were part of a secret cabal. This discovery launches a whirlwind of gossip, innuendo, and recrimination. The other citizens of Red Larch shun the Believers for the next several months [months??? how long do they expect this game to go?], and the Believers turn against one another. Many retreat into seclusion. Leadership of Red Larch passes to Harburk, but he’s too busy as constable. After a month [?], Jalessa Ornra becomes Red Larch’s mayor. She’s liked and known for common sense, so the townsfolk rally around her.
But that’s obviously not what I did.
One, because you literally can’t present that. People recover quickly in this game. A night’s rest, and you’re back in business. No way this campaign is going to last in-game months.
Two, that’s boring, maybe?
So I decided to have Harburk take a very extreme line on this cult security business.
BECAUSE I WANTED TO SEE WHAT THE PLAYERS WOULD DO
I find that the quality of games improves if you try to cultivate a genuine sense of curiosity about the world and the player characters, but specifically the player characters. Think, “I wonder what would happen if they X,” and then show them X and find out.
Below the monastery — a guest star arrives — a tremendous encounter — amicable interrogation — information is the sharpest blade of all. Guest starring Josh via Hangouts.
There’s some great stuff in this episode.
The fight at the end is perhaps dependent on GM judgment to reproduce—but, obviously, I think it’s the right call.
Specifically (***spoilers***), our new fighter (played by guest star Josh), rushed in to the boss’s chamber and grappled him. I ruled that because of that, players who started in range of the boss’s gaze attack didn’t have to make their save. Maybe, per a strict reading of the rules, there should have been some other step before that should have been mechanically possible, but I couldn’t be bothered to look up and parse the details of the grappling rules in the moment.
In any case, this episode shows the incredible value of negotiation with monsters. It’s becoming a thing: episode 10 featured the same thing. Sometimes not killing monsters, even when you can without any risk of serious resource depletion, is worth the effort.
NOTE: when you are running a cult prophet, be sure to look at the writeup of their signature weapon in the appendix. It has stuff it can do that’s not listed in the prophet’s statblock.