06 July 2015 @ 06:11 pm

The game begins with an important discussion: just how many bird-men are left alive? No one is quite sure, but the DM shrugs and rolls with it.

DM: 50 experience.
Balisar: We are truly rich in the ways of experience.

The DM cracks open the DMG to award some random loot. Elkus gets overly ambitious with his dinner.

Balisar: You died the way you lived: with a mouth full of cheesesteak.

Balisar attempts to influence the DM’s treasure rolls with the Force, but instead just tips over Elkus. They find a surprising amount of gold on the birds, and begin piling it up to distribute later. They have ultimately decided they have one captured birdman.

Valan: “Simon Belmont, vampire hunter, wants to know how to cook this bird!”
Tyr: With gravy.
Valan: With gravy, says Tyr. Apparently barbarians are gravy connoisseurs.
Balisar: “I wasn’t in a hurry to eat it. Strange behavior… perhaps we should to take it back to be studied—“
Balisar: NYAH! You mean…
DM: Awareness check. Are you aware?
Balisar: Perception check? 5. I’m too busy being BOMBASTIC!

Other party members spot a birdman near the top of a tree several hundred feet out. As soon as it realizes it has been noticed, it hurriedly flies off. Balisar still propose they should study the creatures to understand their aggression, be it nature or territorial protection. In the distance, they spot motion around a mountain – doubtless more birdmen, flocking around exterior structures faintly visible.

DM: What’s your marching order?
Valan: Agh! I was hoping he wasn’t going to ask that. I was like, “if this was Balisar, he’d be asking us for a marching order.”
Aurianna: The cleric in the middle, so she can shed some light!
Balisar: No, we should put you in the back.
Valan: Tyr is our point man?
Balisar: Tyr in the front, to absorb blows. If something comes up from behind you probably have the second best ability to absorb blows…

The players select their minis and line them up appropriately… with some difficulty, because by the time they find and select the minis, they’ve forgotten the order they decided on. Nevertheless, onwards they proceed!

Elkus: Balisar, always picking a mini with its weapon out in the other square.
Balisar: Deal with it.
DM: I need Perception checks, as you peer straight ahead! You got 16, Tyr? You just barely catch, in the trees up ahead, hidden away—
DM: He’s getting ready to attack, but because you spotted him, initiative.

The DM laboriously draws out the map to the mockery of the players, as is pretty much standard. Balisar hunts for epic combat music.

DM: Isn’t boss music a little extreme?
Balisar: It was what came up…
Elkus: The fact that anything from Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest comes up these days is amazing.
DM: It was the best!
Balisar: Synthesized electric guitar has never been done better, ever.
Elkus: I can’t disagree with that.

The group sings the Blaster Master Area 1 song, and Elkus, unsurprisingly, goes first. The group stumbles a bit on the new rules of Sealth vs. passive Perception, and having done so cheerfully stumble over the rest of the rules for movement and attacking. Elkus lobs out a Charm Person on the one bird-man he can see, and the creature fails its saving throw.

DM: Just a bunch of caws at you.
Elkus: “Hold, friend, do you speak the Common tongue?”
DM: (pausing) “Awwwwwwk!” He seems confused by your words and continues to sort of jab his spear in the direction of his allies.
Elkus: “They are your friends, they mean you no harm!”
Valan: They’re going to cook the rest of us for dinner. Except Elkus.
Elkus: “Do you speak elven? Sylvan?”
Valan: Do you speak anything besides ‘awk’?
DM: While this is going on…
Valan: An arrow slams into…
DM: Elkus, what is your armor class?
Elkus: A whopping 14.
Valan: His armor class is… pierced by arrow!

A birdman fails to strike Elkus from stealth, probably because the DM is unaware that concealed creatures get advantage. The DM continues to roll terribly on attack rolls, somehow. Aurianna casts Bless. Tyr elects not to attack, and Balisar casts a Minor Illusion to create a predatory bird scream bove them.

Balisar: Maybe they’ll take that as a sign they shouldn’t screw with us.
Valan: Ba weep grah na weep ninny bong?
DM: What roll… do they get?
Balisar: There’s no rolls, I’m just doing it.
Elkus: This is your god… Big Bird.
Balisar: I lift my hands and the mighty cry of a predatory bird echoes out from above us!
Valan: Like Obi-Won. “The bird people are easily startled, but they’ll be back.”

Between the charm, the cry, and the non-aggression, the bird-people are no longer in a battle stance. The PCs also continue to be resolutely nonaggressive in body language as well, and a 22 on Perform (possibly mime) from Elkus helps to keep the peace.

Balisar: “Can you all keep the peace for ten minutes?”
DM: One of them starts pointing at the bird, and then at the ground.
Elkus: “Just put him down in front of you.”
Tyr: I put him down.
Balisar: I will begin casting a ritual spell. It’ll take 10 minutes. So I’m out for ten minutes…
Elkus: All right, well, 23 on Perform to just play the lute for these people while we wait.
Valan: I’ll pound a nearby tree for percussion.

Despite Balisar making a horrible pun, the bird-men make no aggressive motions, thanks in large part to Elkus’s pretty awesome roll. Aurianna offers a healing kit and aid in tending to the injured bird men (that they themselves beat up).

Balisar: Now, while their guards are down, make a human centipede out of them.
DM: All right, that’s it. Game’s closed.
Aurianna: That’s what you get, Balisar.

Time passes, and Balisar casts his Comprehend Languages. He can now understand the bird-men!

DM: “Why do we consort with them? The music is almost… taunting! Or haunting!” “No, they’re friends! I understand they’re friends!” “No! He’s bewitched you somehow.”
Balisar: (raising his hand peaceably)
DM: “He continues to raise his – what is that?!”


Balisar: “Work with me here…
Elkus: What are you trying to convey?
Balisar: They’re suspicious that you’ve… bewitched the one that you’ve bewitched, oddly enough. We must work on earning their trust.
Elkus: How do you suggest we do that? Because I totally did!
Balisar: I didn’t say you didn’t, I said we must work on earning their trust!
Elkus: Well what do we do, like lay out some seed or something?

Balisar grumbles about his Charisma of 10, and they quickly huddled to try to figure out how to communicate back to these creatures. Elkus deploys interpretative dance (really), Aurianna helps with signs and drawings, and Balisar tosses out Minor Illusions. The whole conversation helps Balisar to pick up the basics of the language.

DM: You probably could get into a simple conversation with anyone. “Hi.” “How was your day?” “I like mountains.”
Balisar: “Which way are the bathrooms?”
DM: So you can add to your list of languages… just put the word ‘basic’…
Balisar: Pidgin pigeon.

With rudimentary communication established, the two groups come to an accord: the bird-men will leave the adventurers alone if the adventurers don’t climb the trees or up the mountain into the cloud-layer where their kingdom seems to be.

Balisar: “I think we can agree to that. We don’t wanna go walking in on another sovereign nation.”
Elkus: “That is very true, I agree! But how high can we climb up?”
DM: You get the idea that they’re aware of these ruins you’re talking about, and they have no interest in it.
Balisar: …can we get directions?

They do get some brief directions, and then the birdmen begin to scatter. Balisar teaches them about the handshake.

DM: Give me a Strength check.
Elkus: CRUNCH.
Balisar: 15. Whew.
DM: He has a strong grip on your hand, but not enough to beat you.
Balisar: I sweat a little.
DM: His silent nod speaks volumes. He picks up their friend and begins to fly upwards.
Elkus: Sorry about killing your four other guys.
Balisar: Welp, there it is. The best roleplay we’ll ever do at this table.
Elkus: I know, right?
Balisar: I’ll point out [the missing player] wasn’t here for it…

The players give pained consideration to how badly that would have gone if the bird-people had gotten the jump on them.

Elkus: “Well, that was invigorating, friends. Shall we?”
Balisar: “That was definitely a first.”
Elkus: Meta. Meta.
Balisar: What?! It was a first in-character too. How many bird people has YOUR character befriended in their backstory?!
Valan: I think the meta implication is stronger.
Balisar: You’re just cynical!
Valan: I’m serious, when have we ever talked our way out of a conflict…

In the distance, the charm spell wears off, but the group luckily doesn’t get swarmed. The birds are clearly watching them for some sign that they will break the truce.

Elkus: Running towards the mountain with crampons in hand. “AH HA HA HA HA HA!”
Balisar: We’re all carrying a ladder over our heads…

Approaching the ruins, they find a grand entrance in surprisingly good shape. Unwilling to venture in just yet, they make camp outside, to take a long rest. The birdmen watch them closely, and the party confuses them with waves.

DM: The unusual wave gets some awkward looks, and one person, looks like a younger one, waves back. And then somebody hits him, and then they move on.
Aurianna: Awww.

After their rest, they ready themselves to enter the ruins. Aware that they will gain a bonus to their fee for bringing back items and artif acts, they begin planning to haul off entire pillars of stone.

DM: …you remember a note saying please do not destroy the ruins.
Balisar: We’re not destroying them, we’re just dissembling them.
Tyr: It’s called archaeology.
Elkus: Barbarian edition.

They enter, immediately discovering many strange pictures. Nonorganic machines, creatures with faces over half their body, and a clear picture over the archway of heavy-plate armor holding a sword, all of it made out of metal.

Balisar: Investigation time, 18.
Elkus: As it slices your face off.
Balisar: It’s still sharp, guys!

The armor pulls itself out of the roof and smashes into the ground, the sword raised. It does not immediately move to attack, however.

Elkus: “Ho there, friend!”
Valan: Charm Person.
Elkus: I don’t think that’s a person.
Balisar: RACIST.
Elkus: You, sir, and I are going to have a talk later. Half this party is half-breeds! “Good sir, if you could please step aside?”
Valan: Hunnerd gold…
Elkus: Does Valan just have big teeth overall?
Valan: No, he just speaks through clenched teeth.
DM: What do you do?
Valan: We’re attacking, right? Because if we attempt to pass and he bitchslaps one of us… in-character that’s the thing we should do, out of character we’re starting the fight down whatever he hits for.
Balisar: Aurianna can get past.
Elkus: Is it undead?
Balisar: No, no, no, but she’s a female cleric. (a pause) Nun shall pass.

Terrible silence.

DM: God…
Valan: That’s, like…
Aurianna: God damn it. I’m not a nun!
Valan: I wanna say that’s a new low, but…
Balisar: It’s not, it’s really not.

The armor obstinately gets in their way to block their passage. Tyr steps away for a second, so the group cheerfully sacrifices his character to make their passage easier. Balisar makes another pun which no one will acknowledge, and after perfunctory further attempts to communicate, they roll initiative. First to act, Valan step up and beans it with a staff, then kicks it. It saves against Balisar’s acid splash.

Elkus: Well crap. Um…
Balisar: Don’t you have a damaging cantrip?
Elkus: A damaging cantrip? No.
Balisar: Shoot it.
Elkus: I don’t have a ranged weapon.
Balisar: Really? How do you not have a ranged weapon?
Elkus: I don’t know. I wasn’t given one?
Balisar: And you didn’t buy one?
Elkus: Look, I was being rushed in my character creation, okay?! “Elkus, what’s wrong with you, you stupid slow fucking cunt!”
Valan: He has to look up spells, that’s like two hours on top of normal character creation.
Balisar: …well, it’s your own fault for being a stupid fucking cunt.
Elkus: What is my cantrips? Ooh, I have Vicious Mockery. I think that is a damaging one too.
DM: You ego-slap him? Is that what I’m understanding you did?

This was a startlingly good choice against its lack of Wisdom, but it saves. Aurianna misses, and the statue hits! Balisar obstinately starts rolling stats, the statue’s sword abruptly turns into a mace, and the DM realizes it actually missed. It second attack hits, dealing 7! To someone!

Tyr: I beat down evil statue with big axe.
Valan: I have four hit points.
Aurinna: My path is clear.

Valan misses his two attacks and Balisar fails his acid splash. Elkus hits it with Vicious Mockery, finally landing a spell on it. A conversation occurs which is somewhat hilarious in retrospect.

Valan: What game was that we were playing, was it Destiny? Where [a name commonly associated with Balisar’s online presence] ran past us?
DM: No, this is not Balisar’s game.
Valan: It’s a hunter, it has to be Balisar! Because hunters are mad ‘sploits.
Balisar: I don’t know why I would have a problem with playing it…

The statue hits with one attack, but fails to drop anyone with a poor damage roll. Valan deploys a flurry of misses, but Balisar finally lands an Acid Splash. Elkus hits another Vicious Mockery, which kills it.

Elkus: YOU COULDN’T EVEN KEEP OUT A MOUSE-- (miming the armor collapsing) Told you!

Balisar bids Tyr produce a torch but not light it, purely for the look on his face. He casts Light on the end of it. They travel onwards, then immediately stop to take sketches and rubbings of the figures and writings on the wall. The furthest in, Tyr hears shuffling up ahead and spots shadowy movement! Naturally, with the mention of shuffling, Party Rock erupts. Less naturally, points are taken from Gryffindor?

DM: Tyr. A two-legged object comes your way. A small round metal body surrounds a large single eye. Pale skin, a wide mouth, is all the organic you can see. Its arms, lanky, almost like rods. Three fingers. One of the arms holding a sword, and two small wings perch atop its head. A monocle rests on its eyes. It peers up as it moves ever closer to you.
Tyr: I look at my comrades and basically say something’s coming.
Valan: What? They have a cave troll?
Balisar: So! It’s purest coincidence that as soon as a modron shows up in my game, now they’re showing up in yours?
DM: That was a modron in your game?!
Balisar: Yes.
DM: …that’s good, that I was able to verbally describe well enough! I wrote this down before I saw it in your game!
Balisar: Like when we all dragged out the force golems at the same time…
DM: These things look cool as fuck! And I was like, I want them!

It rapidly gets weird

Balisar: I got some rubbings to do like no one would believe.
Aurianna: He needs to rub one out.
Balisar: I’m rubber and you’re glue.
Aurianna: He is a rubber.
Elkus: He’s not safe. Or effective.
Balisar: I am the chronic masturbator of Sherwood Forest. Rubbin’ Hood.
Aurianna: God damn it.
Elkus: Not even gonna give that one a reaction.
Valan: Call off Christmas.
Elkus: Christmas is OVER. Calling that right now. Ten months in advance.

The modron ceases its advance, quickly taking in each of the adventurers. They attempt to greet it, but it does not respond in any way.

DM: He seems to be most interested in the one touching the walls.
Valan: And this is where we let Balisar’s character die!

Still, it isn’t aggressive, so they don’t act – despite Elkus trying to instigate with Balisar. Aurianna attempts to encourage it to mimic her instead of Balisar, while Balisar himself scrutinizes the modron and determines it is extraplanar.

DM: As you all discuss it, its eyes turn back to the darkness. “Outsiders. They step on the ruins. They touch the walls.” It turns to begin to walk back.

The players acknowledge that it could be reporting back on them, but still refuse to engage it in combat, and instead simply prepare for a potential larger battle. The DM bemoans his campaign choices.

DM: I so shoulda thrown big weapons in the future stuff. “You see a strange symbol, a circle. Three oddly-shaped triangles around a small circle.”
Balisar: I rolled a natural 1 on my investigate check. I believe this is the symbol of an automaker.
Aurianna: What’s an auto?
Balisar: SHADDUP!
DM: A Heal check notes that you are deteriorating from some strange stuff.
Balisar: Vile damage!
DM: You’ve acquired cancer.
Tyr: Bah bah bum bum! You got cancer!

Rubbing finished, they enter further in to find more of the one-eyed being apparently cleaning the ruins. The modrons continue their third-person commentary on their actions, implying that they are being unmolested because they are taking nothing. They find an elaborate set of drawings that hold the modrons’ attentions curiously – it is a leader or god of theirs!

DM: Proceeding further in you do see new… automatons, these ones taller. Their bodies split into two, the bottom half a cube with legs protruding to the floor, with hooves, almost, of metal. A round gear-shape to a spring, then another box, its face squished inside. Wide teeth. This one has a nose, its eyes set inside weird metal tubes, his arms pressed aside into little pipes poking out of the top. This one contains no weapons, though. Its empty smile haunts you.
Valan: This must be the one that does magic.
DM: “The outsiders are curious. They do not bother our work. Continue your work. Do not be distracted. It must continue.”
Balisar: “Perhaps we are not trying to communicate in the right fashion.”
Elkus: “Should we – should we move something out of place?”
Balisar: “No, I believe that might be considered tantamount to hostilities. Perhaps we should try—“
Valan: Asking for the tour.
Balisar: “Introducing ourselves into their narrative, so to speak.”
Elkus: “Ah! An elaborate lie.”
Valan: “After you.” I am Balisar, human-cyborg relations….
Balisar: “Let me try something.” (dramatically clearing his throat) “The outsiders have posed a question towards the purpose of these creatures here!”
DM: “They talk to us. But they do not understand that we don’t talk to them.”
Balisar: “The outsiders resent your implication that we fail to understand are attempting to overcome that barrier!”
DM: “Leader. They continue to speak. They are distracting lowers. How to proceed?” As you continue to talk, the strangest of the strange beings comes out. This six legged creature, the body itself a pyramid, upside-down. Each of the sides have a face. Big red lips, each a single eye. The being itself faces them directly, but only one voice. “It matters not.” It seems to shift to another face. “Ignore them. Your work must proceed. This area must be cleansed. It has not seen our touch in eons.” It shifts yet again. “Continue your work. The work is almost done and then we can leave. These outsiders will be but a memory.”

With many a Quintesson joke, the party proceeds further in, following the traces of a mysterious light. They pick up some stuff, after which the modrons mock them indirectly for playing with some trash. Balisar attempts to do a rubbing of a modron while the party plumbs the depths of trash piles for gems. The group mocks the DM for his pronunciation, because they’re jerks, but can only take it so far.

Balisar: It’s hard to mispronounce ‘quartz’. There’s only one way those letters go.
Elkus: It’s pretty self-explanatory.

During all these, Elkus has crept on ahead to investigate the light.

Balisar: So we’ll get the gems, and Elkus will get the hologram.
Elkus: Am I trying to steal a hologram?
Balisar: That would be truly outrageous.
Elkus: Truly—
Elkus and Valan: --truly outrageous.
DM: Take a look, it’s in a book, a Reading Rainbow…
Elkus: We are going on so many tangents.
Balisar: That was the segue equivalent of the car flying off the road and onto an entirely different track and landing perfectly.

Elkus finds a curious sort of tear which is emitting light that does not actually light the room. The modron comments absently that their mission is almost done – cleaning ruins like this in various planes appears to be their day job. Elkus peers into the gateway to Mechanus, not that he knows that in-character, and promptly saves vs insanity.

Balisar: All right, how crazy do you go?
Elkus: Is their an actual table for insanity?
Balisar: Yes! Short-term, long-term, or indefinite madness?
Elkus: Well this is pretty maddening stuff, so let’s go for indefinite.
Balisar: Roll a d100.
Elkus: 89.
Balisar: “I can’t take anything seriously. The more serious the situation, the more funny I find it.”
Elkus: 59.
Balisar: “I am the smartest, wisest, strongest, fastest, and most beautiful person I know.”
Valan: 97.
Balisar: You discovered that you really like killing people.
Valan: I can’t get away from it, then.
Aurianna: …what?!
Balisar: Way to keep up, Aurianna.

Elkus finds a large gem powering the rift, or focusing it, or something. Abu, I mean Elkus, is ordered not to touch anything, while Valan is obstinately insistent that a Destiny quest boss while be stomping in any second.

Balisar: Elkus, I’ve got bad new and worse news. The bad news is, everything in touch that you shouldn’t touch is made of cheese. The worse news is, you have a new flaw: Monterey Jack.
Elkus and Valan: CheeeEEeeEeeeeEEeeeese!
Elkus: I’m going to sulk on out.
Balisar: Sulk.
Elkus: (heaving a sigh)
Valan: I thought that was Normilan.

Elkus spots objects encased in glass on podiums – including a remarkably fine instrument!

Balisar: Oh my god, is this room flooding – oh, he’s just drooling.
DM: There’s other objects nearby.
Balisar: A book of spells! A fist of punching! A greataxe +2! A cleric thingy!
DM: Nothing so arbitrary.

Bemoaning his lack of a lack of Wisdom, Elkus chooses to report back to his friends, even as the DM attempts to bait him with a giant pile of gold, then just mocks the efforts of the other PCs. Balisar in turn attempts to bait the modrons, who obstinately narrate their refusal to acknowledge the PCs.

DM: “Our time here is almost over. The treasures must be moved. The outsiders have seen too much.” As he says this, they all turn and begin to move to the back of the room at a slow pace.
Balisar: (through clenched teeth) I wish we’d get a clearer reason to FIGHT these guys!
Valan: Evil pacifists!
Balisar: God damn you moral grey area!
Tyr: You could just tell the barbarian to Hulk Smash.
Elkus: Or he could just do it on his own intuition and then we’d have to rescue him.
Balisar: You want to go loose cannon on us? Just for a minute.
Elkus: That’s all we ask. Not to be super fucking meta about it.

The DM obstinately reminds them of their alignments, even as the PCs reluctantly acknowledge they have no reason to mess with the modrons. The DM in turn admits that he realized the PCs have no reason to fight the modrons other than the loot anyway.

Balisar: I’m gonna head in that direction myself. I’ll try to blend in. (rolling, then adding very quietly) No.
Elkus: Ah ha! No.
Valan: Imhotep…

The large modron supervises the smaller taking the treasure to the rift. Valan proposes that the modrons have no more right to the goodies than the PCs do.

DM: You would say that one of these boxes is a box of energy. It seems to suck in magical energy.
Valan: It’s Energon cubes.
Balisar: I was gonna say.

Balisar and Valan half-reminisce, half-bitch about Energon for a bit, while the DM waxes poetic about the revelation Balisar has come upon by seeing this portal. Balisar and Elkus beg to be held back from walking into the portal; Aurianna obliges, while the modron chides them.

DM: If at any point they were talking to you, this is where you realize, yeah, they’re kinda talking to you. But they’re talking around you. They don’t seem to want to address you directly.
Balisar: “The outsider doesn’t give a shit, he wants to see!”
DM: “The outsider must not proceed.”
Balisar: “If I could!”

Balisar continues to struggle, while the modrons proceed through the rift. The largest one takes up the rear, and the rift seals behind them – and then the DM calls for Constitution saves. They all shrug off the bright light that erupts and fills the room, making gemstones sparkle.

DM: The stones seem to almost come alive.
All: (reaching for their dice)
DM: ALMOST. You can now see the place better than you can before. The gemstone he described a dormant stone now. Rock, a solid stone, but very peculiarly shaped—
Elkus: (mining the taking of said item, as he has been doing for some time now)
Balisar: ‘Get – in – my – inventory! Why! The flavor text won’t – stop!’

They take the stone and start scrounging up tablets to take back, snickering at how they attempted to take rubbings of the modrons. They get loot and dwemer cogs that clog up their inventory something fierce, as is the sole purpose of dwemer cogs. Balisar starts randomly making people roll on the Chase Complication table as they accrue gems. Valan, of all people, demands to roll on the Carousing table. Elkus ends up robbed, Tyr is jailed, and Aurianna makes an enemy.

Balisar: “I feel like we should make some progress away from here. If we take too long the bird-men might grow suspicious – the avians, as I have called them.”
Elkus: “That’s a good name for them.”
Balisar: “We don’t wish for them to consider us to be taking hostile action.”
Elkus: “Yes, let’s—“
DM: It doesn’t take you too long to move out to about where you saw them the first time.
Elkus: And later he’ll make us try to roleplay.

The PCs set up camp and begin assigning watches. Aurianna determines that the mace is in fact magical, despite Elkus’s angry cries of ‘boring!’. The concept of valuable tapestries is brought up, to bitter amusement all around. The night passes!

DM: Proceeding in the formation you did before, it’s about midday.
Balisar: Is the formation… Alpha?
Aurianna: Delta?
Balisar: She said it! Not me! I’m innocent this time!
Elkus: The look in the corner of Valan’s eyes was good.
Valan: Which way do we go to get home?
DM: You just proceed to go along the path.
Valan: Which direction does the path run? NORTH?
Balisar: Yes, it goes north, the same way every city is oriented.
DM: Ahead of you you find a slightly familiar person. One of the guys you saw on the boat. “Ha! Back from a successful adventure, I take it? Completing your mission, right? Of course you are.”
Balisar: Perception check. I’m checking around us for the inevitable ambush. 13.
Elkus: “I suspect somebody’s jealous.”
DM: You catch a glimpse of three guys out of the corner of your eye. They slipped up on their stealthiness. “So, uh—“
Valan: “Hunner gold.”
DM: “How about you guys just drop your stuff, and maybe start a new adventure? I got a mission for ya right here. We’ll just turn this in for you. How about that? You know? We’ll just bring it back for you? You’re probably anxious to get on with your next adventure, right?”


Elkus: “Are you an imbecile? Are you stupid? No! I want to get back to the inn, slip into a warm bed with a lovely lass, and have a good night. Thank you. No. Move.”
DM: “Heh. I was hoping this would be easy.”
Valan: “It will be easy.”
Aurianna: While they’re yammering, I’m going to cast Thaumaturgy three times. I’m going to make my eyes change color, I am going to make the ground shake, and I am going to make my voice three times louder than normal and say, “Leave. Now.”
Balisar: Meanwhile I cast a Minor Illusion of a big arrow pointing at one of the guys who thinks he’s hidden.
Elkus: And I’m going to cast a Minor Illusion—
DM: Is everyone casting this Minor Illusion stuff?!
Elkus: And make our friend Valan look like he’s got four arms.
Valan: And I’m going to cast ‘Crack Four Sets of Knuckles.’

Intimidation checks hit the table. A dog runs away for some reason.

DM: “Steel yourselves, men! It’s just an illusion!” “Yeah, hold fast!” “NOPE!” You see the guy with the arrow on his head, he’s on the ground now, he’s kind of shaking. This guy tries to climb the tree… and he fails.
Balisar: The bird people would probably blame us for that…

Initiative time! The players all get a giggle out of their actual RPing and not picking a fight. Abandoning all subtlety, their foes scream that they will kill the PCs and take their treasure. The PCs are understandably skeptical. Tyr gets hit by a crossbow bolt, then Elkus cracks out Dissonant Whispers.

DM: He fails his save! Roll your damage.
Balisar: Come on, make his ears bleed out.
Elkus: (rolling)
Valan: Wow. 17.
DM: You destroy him!
Valan: You scanned his brain!
DM: This guy’s head pops Scanner-style.
Elkus: “Well that’s the first time that one happened. Damn.”
Balisar: “I feel less of a man this day. I was going to put them to sleep, but that seems so… low-key, now.
Valan: You literally just sang Master Exploder to the guy.

Their other foes immediately surrender, or at least the ones that aren’t running away – making the fastest combat in the history of the game. The PCs tie up the wastrels, and haul them back to town for justice.

DM: You make it back to town relatively quickly. You do find, ahead of you, the guy. He’s with a few people. “THERE HE IS! His head! It just – boom! And the brain—“ He’s making a lot of nonsensical voices…
Elkus: “Unfortunately one of them is dead. They tried to accost us on the road.”
DM: “I’ve heard rumors of this.”
Valan: Of people’s heads exploding?
DM: “Is this true?” You can tell this guy is about to try to lie.
Balisar: “Look at his companions that we conveniently tied up!”
Elkus: (ominous whisper) “I wouldn’t lie if I were you.”
DM: “Yes. We tried to take them for everything.”

The mayor abruptly becomes the King of Town, and the PCs go with him back to the office where the girl had first given them their quest.

Valan: What’s her name? Tika?
Balisar: Kita. Not Tika, no…
Valan: No, we won’t be able to remember that later.
Valisar: Hassletoff.
Elkus: Taquisha. Strong black woman.
DM: Eliza was the town square lady…

They relay the story of their truce with the bird-people and their adventures with the modrons, then drop off their tablets (and laboriously get receipts).

DM: “Do you have a name for your team? We need to mark each object for the group that came in—“
Balisar: Team Balisar!
Elkus: (miming punching him)
Balisar: Ow! Hey, wait, what’s your Strength?
Elkus: 8. Not much lower than yours.
Balisar: (miming a giant wuss slap) Eh!
Elkus: Freaking scales.
Balisar: Sleep. Team Balisar!
Elkus: I’m going to whisper so hard when I wake up.
Balisar: Let’s see how many hit points – aww crap, we’re all asleep. I got myself.
Valan: Brain Fountain.
Balisar: That’s our team name, Brain Fountain? That’s not the Transformer I think would make the best action figure.
Valan: Wait, pull it up! Come up with a team name for us! Wheeljack Biceps Biceps…

Elkus starts off on a bold note by speaking of their diversity both racially and professionally, then costs himself all his respect by pitching the name Team Katamari. They get their gold, totaling a thousand thanks to their negotiations with the bird men, and head for the Inn of the Last Home for some of Otik’s potatoes.

DM: You make your way to the Inn of the Last Throne.
Balisar: Macho Snake Seezu-Vorath. Oh hey, I like that name.
Elkus: That’s pretty good, actually. As we enter… “Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome back our heroes from the ruins in the jungle. Gather round, gather round! And let me orate you the tale!”
Balisar: While he’s doing that, we’ll divvy up the loot without him.
Elkus: And then I leave them all out and take all the glory.

The innkeeper shows off by throwing five keys to their table one-handed, as the DM emphasizes that this shouldn’t be possible from this guy. Balisar joins in on the telling of the tale by adding illusions to the mix.

Valan: Is there an evil cleric? That’s drunk? He’s gonna pick a fight, he’s gonna trip and fall into the fireplace face first?

The group cleans up on the storytelling. Aurianna gets a flower or three thrown in her direction!

Balisar: How many pairs of panties does Elkus receive?
Balisar: Welp, we need a new bard.
DM: You receive 10 pairs, but one of them you did not want to receive.
Elkus and Balisar: Oooooooh.
Valan: Should we roll on the carousing table?
DM: Go ahead. There’s no actual gambling here, so—
Balisar: We can start some up. I’ve got a Three Dragon Ante set, whatever the fuck that is, I don’t know…

Balisar, Valan, and Elkus work to lure in other players, though their rolls are all terrible. It’s fine, though, since they’re just trying to lubricate the carousing wheels. Aurianna stubbornly attempts to refuse. They begin rolling carousing! Balisar makes some money gambling, Valan breaks even, Aurianna unsurprisingly makes a small fortune.

Balisar: But you weren’t gambling!
Aurianna: You talked me into it.

Elkus and Tyr both recoup their expenses! A good night all around.

Balisar: Nobody had a one-night stand.
Aurianna: Although people probably tried with me, apparently.
Balisar: Yeah, but you didn’t notice, you were too busy gambling. In lieu of 150 gold, maybe we have a place to stay now. Somebody bet his deed.
Elkus: He left in a barrel.

Experience ensues, blasting everyone with radiating golden light as they level up. No better place to end a session!