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Dragon of Life ([personal profile] dragonoflife) wrote on July 15th, 2015 at 07:51 pm


It’s the 5th edition game! After a night of revelry and leveling, our noble pile of heroes is at loose ends. The DM subtly hints they should go pick up a mission from the bounty board.

DM: As you leave the tavern – if you guys are staying in the tavern, I dunno, but you notice in the tavern as well that there’s a bit of commotion going on.
Balisar: (distracted by Find Familiar) Should I name my owl “Archimedes”?
Elkus: That’s pretty clichéd.
DM: You notice some commotion. People running around…

The players helpfully demonstrate their impressions of a commotion, failing to impress the DM. Balisar inquires as to what transpires.

DM: “It seems one of the adventurers is actually the king’s oldest son in disguise. He wanted to go on an adventure, no one had managed to pick up on it – they managed to track him to this point with an adventuring party that went out to the jungle. They haven’t come back yet, so right now they’re trying to rustle together a group to go take care of it—“
Balisar: There’s just a cloud of smoke left behind where I was that says, “So long!”
Valan: Yeah, we work for money.
Balisar: I’ll join that group.
Valan: Oh.
Balisar: I’m in favor of money, but this is important.
Valan: Oh, he said it was the king’s son?
Balisar: Yeah, you’ll probably also get money out of it. He dubs you ‘the Seventh Army’.

Surprisingly this task has few takers, because most of the adventurers in the town have left already. Balisar promptly and pompously signs them up, although the bounty board lady does inquire about the rest of the group.

Balisar: “I’ll go round them up!”
DM: “The earliest reports of what we’ve heard from the jungle aren’t good.”
Balisar: “I’ll go round them up now, just stop talking!”
Aurianna: What time is it?
DM: It’s fairly late in the morning, around 11.
Elkus: That’s the perfect time for my debaucheried ass to get up.
Balisar: We didn’t roll a debauchery for you!
Elkus: I gave myself debauchery!

The bounty board lady continues to babble as Balisar scrambles off. Valan cheerfully provokes the telepresence laptop to feedback, making me hate him. Elkus is retroactively debauched, and Balisar bashes open the tavern door to find him and Aurianna.

Balisar: “An adventure awaits! The crown prince is in danger!”
DM: Roll your attack.
Elkus: “Crown prince, you say? Balisar my friend, what do you speak of?”
Balisar: “Hold on, I’m being called upon to roll an attack. You will have to wait.”
DM: Sadly, your impromptu launch of the doors…
Balisar: It’s a mere 5, since I’m not proficient in slamming doors into people.
DM: Give me a Strength check.
Balisar: 2!
DM: As you attempt to slam the door open, you did not take the time to realize there was someone else in the door who does not like it, as he throws the door back in your face. You are pushed back a ways. You all catch the words ‘Crown Prince’ as you watch your comrade flip over the railing and land on his face.
Valan: Call the cops!
Elkus: ‘I still have my pride. It’s right here on the floor.’

Balisar tries again, hurriedly rounding up his colleagues and running back to the bounty board. The rest of the group doesn’t come with him, despite multiple efforts on his behalf.

Balisar: “WHY AREN’T YOU PEOPLE COMING?!”
Aurianna: “I need to go get my things!”
Elkus: “Excuse me, I’m trying to calculate the reward money in my head.”
Valan: ‘Why would he want prints from a clown?’
Elkus: “Crown, good sir, crown. The king’s son.”
Balisar: “Do – do I need to explain it better? Behold!” An illusion of a crown, a little ‘ta-da!’ plays. “CROWN prince.”

The roleplaying, of course, promptly derails.

DM: Did you ever watch Powerpuff Girls Z?
Valan: Z.
Elkus: God speaks to you in weird terms. “Seek out the Powerpuff Girls, Balisar.”
Balisar: “Huh. I’m not very religious…”

They get a series of notes from the bounty and some scouting reports, which indicate the adventurers have gone in further than the scouts. The players roleplay their discussion about why the crown prince is out on adventurers, except for Valan, who angrily demands they podcast their games.

Valan: We’re not nearly as racist as reading the transcription would make it sound. We’re not that bad.
DM: We’ve toned it down.
Balisar: We’re not racist, we just say racist things on occasion.
DM: Anyways… you find out more about the prince. It’s Crown Prince Theoden. (a pause) A decided to go with something obvious.

A long silence.

Valan: Is this a young prince?
Balisar: And that Wormtongue gave him bad advice…
Valan: Or is he gonna be really old when we find him and we have to slap him around some and all his white hair disappears…
Balisar: Does he have a half-orc advisor named Eomer?
DM: You find out he’s just turned 18. Or will be turning 18 soon.
Aurianna: (noticing geese out the window) Honkies!
Valan: Honkies…?
Aurianna: That’s what we call them.
Balisar: Because they honk. That’s - - that’s – not—
Valan: See, that’s not racist, but it’s a racist thing. Doesn’t mean it should come off in the transcription as—
Elkus: Redacted.
Valan: Aurianna all of a sudden makes a racist slur for no reason!

Off they set on the first trip just to the edge of the jungle, which will take up most of the day. Scout reports tell of incredibly dangerous creatures in the troublesome jungle, with a curious haze as they reached it.

Balisar: We’re gonna step into the haze, and then we’ll be in a mysterious continent, where the ocean is gone…
DM: It’ll be like Minecraft. “I’m on fire! I’m going in the water! …THAT’S NOT WATER!” It was a world where all the water was replaced with molten tin, so it was this blue watery looking substance…

They reach the jungle at last, which seems to move despite a lack of wind that will move the trees. The group settles in to Survival their way into camping.

Balisar: “Do not be alarmed by the feat of magic you are about to see.” I summon my owl.
Aurianna: “Owlowiscious.”
Balisar: “No.”
Elkus: “That’s a nice meal.”
Balisar: “No.”
Valan: “Is it going to carry us?”
Balisar: “No.”
DM: All of a sudden, you see your owl, and arrow shoots through it. “Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!”

The notes suggest that their path should lead them to ruins in the back of the jungle. With a check, Balisar examines them further.

DM: You do see what’s termed as ‘doctor’s notes.’
Valan: The prince is getting out of work!
Elkus: Oh,asthma.
DM: Using your own knowledge of the arcane you’re able to decipher more. You see notes of the scouts that returned and why they were forced to retreat. Notes of feverish, blistering, seeing things, and the last thing, probably the most disturbing – fungus growth.
Balisar: Well. It looks like we adventutrrs will truly be… the last of us.

Silence.

Aurianna: God damn it, Balisar.
Balisar: I’m just sayin’… “Eat nothing, watch our steps, and purify all water. Boil it.”
Elkus: Mash it.
Aurianna: Stick in a stew.
Valan: Boil it, mash it, stick it in a stew.
Balisar: What’s water, eh?

The group ponders the existence of Purify Food and Water, while the DM attempts to goad them into setting up camp in the forest. They, obviously, do not. Balisar helps the DM roll weather, which results in them finding giant stone faces carved into a mountain, then a tavern.

Balisar: The tavern’s name is the Black Demon.
DM and Valan: I like that.
Balisar: Roll another d20 to see what kind of place it is.
Aurianna: 11.
Balisar: A gathering place for a secret society. All right!

Former members of the H&DBGS are mocked through the vehicle of Balisar’s owl.

DM: Who is first watch?
Balisar: We’re a gambling den called the Leering Eel.
DM: Give me a Spot. ..I mean, Perception.

Aurianna sees the jungle moving, and as the night progresses, the watchers spy humanoid figures at the edge of the jungle. The Last of Us jokes unsurprisingly do not stop. The transcriber gleefully chuckles at his own pain later, justifying his own comment that yes, you do indeed see the future version of yourself as a different person when assessing judgmental impacts.

Elkus: I poke Balisar’s tent.
Balisar: I am not sensitive to touch on my tent.
Elkus: I drop an elbow on Balisar’s tent.
DM: All right, roll for damage.
Valan: Just take some of the boiling water that’s being purified and dump it over his bag.
Balisar: This got mean really quick…
Valan: Well, you’re not sensitive to touch!
Balisar: I’ve GOT the touch.
DM: What you see isn’t particularly good.
Valan: Zombies?
DM: Not ones that you’ve seen in your adventures before, if you’ve had such adventures. You’ve seen some undead before. These aren’t quite what you’ve seen before.
Valan: What ‘quite’ are they?
Tyr: They’re kinda half-undead! …I don’t know.
DM: They don’t look undead in the sense that their flesh is dying, but their flesh is definitely a weird orange color.
Aurianna: God damn it they ARE clickers.
DM: Small little hives and bumps cover their bodies.
Valan: Oh no! Spray-tan zombies.
DM: But you also see a few of the bird-like people, their feathers, mouths, and small little funguses grow all over them. They also gaze now away from you and at the strange light.
Elkus: “I think we may have found our adventuring party.”
DM: The notes do describe the prince and the few that you’re able to see right now do not fit the prince or the adventuring party. This appears to be something else.
Elkus: “Maybe one of the scouting parties didn’t make it back.”

The party continues to speculate; the humans don’t appear to be related to the settlement at all. Balisar prepares to cast; the players interpret his somatic components as hearthing and attempt to interrupt him. Nevertheless, initiative erupts, and Balisar kicks off the engagement with Acid Splash. Then the game goes on hold so everyone can set up their minis. Do I even need to say that the discussion gets weird?

Elkus: He just beats you with the stumps of his arms.

The DM quickly and sexistly determines which mini is which characters, and Tyr rages and charges in. Naturally, he hits. Aurianna turns undead, but her consistent refusal to ever look at the map means that no undead are in range. She hurriedly moves forward and THEN turns undead, which works differently enough now that everyone is thrown. Valan clocks with a quarterstaff, then rolls for his follow-up unarmed attack.

Valan: And here comes the foot!
Balisar: Is that your clan?

Silence.

DM: Oh my God…
Elkus: Yeah, yeah, eyaai.
DM: You thought for sure he should fall, but he just… (miming the zombie refusing to fall)
Valan: I hit Block, Up Up. Or is it… towards down towards low punch…

The DM and Valan debate which it is for a bit and how to execute them.

Elkus: (Bane voice) I cast Bane on them.
DM: What’s that do?
Valan: It turns them into killing machines with hilarious voices.

The zombies roll their Charisma(!) saving throws against this honestly awesome 5E version of this debuff, though only one is hit. Four zombies run from the turning, vanishing outside of their light radius, while the others wade into the PCs with hits and crits. Balisar unloads his acid breath into their enemies, albeit not for much damage.

Tyr: I’ll hit the one closest to me for a lot of damage! …But I miss, because I rolled a 7.
DM: Did you add your bonuses?
Tyr: I rolled a 2, plus 5…

Balisar makes a terrible masturbation pun, which he only survives because he used the term ‘soda jerk’ and no one can bring themselves to injure him for using it. The zombies remain difficult to kill, to the PCs’ confusion, but at last they discover the zombies have a chance to negate their finishing blow with a save. Valan wades into one with punches and kicks, and the zombie dies!

Valan: Describe to me what happens, using your most Balisar-like flavor text.
DM: Boom! You hit him once, he’s all, “Uugggh.” You’re getting angrier. Boom! Buh! You see he’s still up, and you pull a lot of strength in! BOOM! His upper torso goes with his head!
Valan: Was that – that was Johnny Cage!
Elkus: ‘Those were five hundred dollar sunglasses, you asshole.”
DM: So that one is down for the count!

Elkus, up next, wades in with his rapier, while Valan imagines the upgrades to his flurry of blows.

Valan: And then you have to tell me the bad guy’s head explodes.
DM: Okay, Fist of the North Star.
Balisar: “You are already undead.”
Valan: Ah ha ha ha! See! He redeems himself for seven years of bad puns!
Balisar: Oh wow, that was all it took?

Elkus pokes his foe, while the group establishes that the ones that ran away are solidly out of the combat. A zombie fumbles!

Balisar: Oh, the undead are sneezing now. Dazed for four rounds!
Elkus: Too much mucus.
DM: To your relief and horror, you see it spew out a pollen-like mist. It is starting to move forward, and the greater part of you says you don’t want to be near the sneezing zombie.
Balisar: Oh, you turned its critical fumble into an infection attack? Cissy it up there.
DM: I’m giving you clues to something that’s worse coming, so appreciate what you got!

Balisar tests out Poison Spray and verifies that yes, they’re immune to poison damage. Aurianna is in the bathroom, so Valan rolls on her behalf and delivers the only natural 1 that will ever be associated with her… and the DM doesn’t even count it. She ends up dealing 5 points of damage, but the zombie saves. Valan tears into another, but the zombies makes two saves and stays standing. Elkus, stuck in melee, makes an Acrobatics check to dodge an AOO, then strikes back! The two sides exchange blows for a bit.

Tyr: Stuff dies with a big axe! Ummmm…failure. 1.
Balisar: (drawing a card) “You meant to do that.” Move ten feet in a random direction and provoke attacks of opportunity as normal.

Tyr luckily provokes none, and Elkus realizes abruptly he never needed to roll to avoid one in the first place in this edition. Aurianna strikes one and it barely saves.

DM: I love this weird zombie rule, it makes zombies more fun!
Valan: It’s definitely like Whack-A-Mole –
Elkus: ‘Would you fucking DIE?!’
Balisar: Reload! Reload—Reload!

Valan is horrified to discover that you can move between your attacks on your turn, making monks useful. As zombies drop, they pile on the last one and beat it mercilessly into the ground. Aurianna ponders, with her Religion roll, how these zombies could be as old as they seem and yet unusually preserved; Balisar determines it is not magical.

Elkus: Is it contagious?
DM: Do you have a Knowledge(nature), Knowledge…
Elkus: Well I can roll it.
Valan: (not seriously) Knowledge(medicine)?
DM: (seriously) Anyone have Knowledge(medicine), Knowledge(medical)…?
Balisar: They’re not knowledges! Stop saying that!

The mist is surely contagious! Elkus searches the bodies with a ten foot stick. The group begins setting up their minis in marching order; it goes TERRIBLY.

Elkus: And we bring up the wings, you and me, Balisar.
DM: The weakest of the group! Elkus, give me a Con check… you are poisoned.
Elkus: I’m too pretty to go up front…

Perception checks are rolled! Balisar’s owl saves them from a snake! Aurianna squashes a spider! Elkus, rolling poorly, is bitten by a weird squirrel for some reason. Tyr, leading the group, rolls uncharacteristically well and hews his way through the jungle, thus protecting them for more of this nonsense.

DM: A few hours into this journey, you’re still being pestered by many creatures. You see many larger creatures further out, simply watching you. Big spiders. A few more other strange lounging zombies. Unlike the ones before who had a hunger for you, they don’t seem to be noticing you at all, Just like the others, they seem very old to you. These zombies should not still be around, they should be on the grounds, a pile of bones and rot, the flesh long-dead but being held together by the strange accumulation of tree fibers…
Valan: Yeah, we gotta destroy this forest.

Tyr spots a pack off to the side of their crude trail! The group urges him to MENTION IT TO THEM!

Elkus: ‘Fuck this nonsense, march on!’

The backpack is more overgrown with moss than a single day’s lingering should have left it, and so the PCs dive in with Investigation checks. Balisar has proficiency in it, and consequently rolls worse than everyone.

Balisar: ‘Let our Search checks combine. BAD!’
Elkus: ‘Mediocre!’
Balisar: You had an 18…

Wrangling through the miscellany in the pack, they come up with a small amulet. Balisar, having read the documents, snatches it (according to the DM) and swallows it (according to the player).

Balisar: I don’t know why I did that.
DM: No. You don’t do that. You grab it, pulling out the document real fast, you match it up. This is—
Balisar: (dramatically gasping, repeatedly)
Elkus: Oh no, our friend has asthma! Do something, quick! Make a stoma!

Of course the amulet’s is the prince’s. For some reason, Aurianna begins spouting the Team Rocket motto while the rest of them find the trail of the prince and the adventuring party he was with. A salsa and middle-finger-flipping fight erupts, as near as the transcriber can judge.

DM: You proceed forward.
Balisar: “Hold our formation tight, and be very careful.”
Valan: Don’t say it—
Balisar: “Our formation. Not your sphincter.”
Aurianna: I was gonna say, hold your formation as tight as your sphincter.
Elkus: Like a fist, my friend, like a fist.
DM: Tyr, you are easily able to clear the way for your allies, keeping the smaller creatures at bay.
Valan: Tyr’s a machine.
Tyr: So how many squirrels did I chop up?
DM: Many.
Tyr: Yeah! I am the eco-wrecker.

They approach stone ruins, blatantly out of place here in the jungle, that seem oddly warded from the jungle’s influence. The mist of the jungle encroaches more heavily here, and the zombies grow in number and attentiveness. One of them even seems to be one of the people they seek!

DM: “Hey! –no—get – no – away! I can’t – see! Anyone! Help!” He’s not moving towards you now, he seems very panicked. He thought he saw something. “No, they’re not real. They’re not real. There’s no one there, there’s no one there. They’re not under there. I can’t let them get me. I have to keep them away. They’ll attack, right? They’ll attack, they’ll attack the ones that aren’t them. But if they’re not attacking me, am I one of them?”
Balisar: “Lasso him.”

Unsure how to handle this, they send Tyr up to get his lasso on. He promptly misses, but the zombies don’t notice, so he tried again and reels the zombie in! They interrogate him… shockingly easily, finding out that the prince is inside the ruins. They slap him around to try to get him back to his senses, but it doesn’t work so well.

Valan: (miming unstoppering something)
Elkus: Aww, not the alcohol.
Valan: It’s not alcohol, it’s a waterskin.
Balisar: Oh, I thought it was alchemist’s fire.
Elkus: ‘This’ll teach you to be a terrible adventurer!’
Balisar: “We’ll burn off the infection!” Anyone have Medicine? Hey untrained boy…
Elkus: I can roll it… 15.
DM: You remember your time playing music for the local… you were at the doctor’s office, I don’t know.
Valan: The local witch doctor. Oooh ee, ooh ah ah…

They sober the guy up, and he reveals more: that entering will get to them, that covering their mouths ultimately didn’t help. The zombie still struggles with his madness, revealing that they need to stay stealthy to avoid attracting too much attention.

DM: You guys can have a little bit of a Stealth game here, it’ll be fun.
Valan: Five of you rolling, one of you will roll a 1.
Elkus: Do you remember the directions, Balisar?
Balisar: …What?

The DM sets this up on the map! Metal Gear jokes occur exactly as anyone could predict. The group all collapses into one mini for easy tracking. Elkus and Balisar supplement their efforts with Minor Illusion casts, while Tyr continues to roll UNSPEAKABLY well.

DM: Tyr in fifth edition, HERO OF THE GAME!
Valan: Just let him roll for everything.

This is honestly spectacularly boring to transcribe, as enjoyable as it was to run…

DM: As you make your way closer, your parrot – uh, I’m sorry, your owl, begins to poke you on the head.
Valan: Ha! It’s a parrot now!
Balisar: I remind it that it can talk to me telepathically.
DM: Okay, it is that early! I thought that wasn’t until level four. He lets you know he sees a door!

The group piles through the door without alerting any zombies, to everyone’s surprise. The mist is lighter inside the ruins… and the DM questions what Tyr’s AC is.

DM: A jab, a wild swing in the darkness. “GET AWAY, VILE ZOMBIE BASTARD!” And a swing, but he misses.
Valan: What a battle cry.
Elkus: “Whoa whoa whoa, there. Hold on! Calm your tits down, people.”
DM: “Oh my god. People have come! We’ve been holed out here for a couple days now. The mist doesn’t seem to come in, but it doesn’t matter!”

The NPCs despair that time is running short and look to the heroes for rescue. Elkus wearily treats them and aids them by shredding his bedroll for masks, and pieces of the moldy backpack that he hurriedly and retroactively cleaned. Suddenly, they hear a sound!

DM: You hear a lot of commotion from the door outside. One of the others, hearing the sound, presses up against the door. Holding it shut, attempting to fasten some kind of lever together.

Silence.

DM: You watch as he tries to close the door hastily, and you all stand there and watch in amazement, unsure what to do next!

Silence.

Elkus: What do you mean we’re unsure what to do next? We got Tyr. Tyr, brace the shit out of that!
Tyr: I’m sorry, I missed what was going on.
Balisar: Welp, we’re dead.

Tyr promptly wedges the Crown Prince into the doorway, solving their problems. Except it was actually a support column and the roof collapses. Okay maybe it was just a piece of rubble.

Balisar: (poncey voice) “Oh, I’m the prince, if only my loyal advisor Stunt were here to help me.”
Elkus: (laughing at the look on Valan’s face)
Valan: He seems to have wandered into the bottom of a lake. I’m sure he’ll be along soon.

The PCs ponder their options, now that they’re effectively trapped in here unless they want to engage the zombies. Balisar lights up the place, since the fires the NPCs had lit were put out due to smoke risk. They see a door on the other side! The group, perhaps not offensive enough, returns to its roots.

Balisar: (to the tune of Ninja Rap) Go Hitler go Hitler! Go Hitler go Hitler go! Hitler, Hitler rap!
DM: The biggest zombie you’ve ever seen had just crashed through the roof.

Somehow it becomes Shadow of the Colossus. The adventurers beg the patience of the NPCs, or really demand it, as they propose to explore deeper within the ruins in the hopes of finding out why it repels the mist. Heading through the barred door they saw earlier, they find the inside remains to be rubble. Balisar investigates some bones, determining they are humanoid – birdmen and human alike, it seems.

Balisar: (miming snapping the bones, grinding them to powder, then snorting it)
DM: Okay, you’ve acquired a split personality now, the spirit of an ancient being has encompassed your body.
Balisar: Wow. This could not have gone better if I planned it.
DM: Sadly, the person who encompassed you is a retard, -8 to Intelligence.
Balisar: Damn. (stupid voice) “I’m ancient spirit guy… Heeey Elkur. Elkur. Elkur. Elkur. Hey Elkur.”
Elkus: “Give me strength, gods.”
Balisar: “Eh play a pretty mumic, Elkur. Elkur. Elkur. Elkur. Elkur.”
Elkus: “Yes, imbecile.”
Balisar: “Play eh pretty mumic, Elkur.”
Elkus: “Later.”
Balisar: “Bala. Bala. Bala. Bala. Bala. Bala. Bala. Baaa! Bala. Bala.”
Valan: Flurry of Blows.

They see many doors, but the one in the back is the most extravagant. It leads to a council chamber, a large circle in the center surrounded by auditorium seating. There’s an interesting divide between birdman and human bones, though both appear. In the perfect center, there’s a lot of magical energy just sitting there! Balisar, of course, goes to stick his hand in it.

Elkus: “Do you think that’s wise?”
Balisar: “No.”
DM: As you just get barely close to touch it, give me a Con.
Balisar: Hey, let me know if you can see my skeleton through my skin. 14.
DM: You remain conscious, give me an Intelligence.
Balisar: 9.
Valan: You remain dumb.
DM: You are shocked. You remain strong but a vast amount of knowledge storms your mind. Hundreds, hundreds of words. While you’re not able to gauge a lot of it, you do see images, things you’re able to pick up among the words. You grip your head. “People—birds—peace!” And you stop for a moment as your mind sort of shuts down.
Tyr: “…Are you okay?”
DM: You shake yourself out of it. Most of the knowledge has left you, it’s too much for you.
Balisar: “You guys have to try that.”

This may be the central knowledge of a mage’s guild or something similar! Balisar slavers away over how he’ll become a hero by returning knowledge of this, to the point that he’s forbidden from making the next Perception check. Aurianna, of course, scores a natural 20 and makes everyone else a waste… The ceiling is lighting up! Arcane magic is flowing! They hear a lot of shuffling as well, as zombies lurch in from the side halls… Naturally, the game ends right there. DUN DUN DUN!
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