26 November 2015 @ 05:48 pm

Without delay, the adventure in the fine continent that is only NAMED Ansalon but is not Dragonlance picks up again. Last time our heroes had ventured into the thri-kreen nest to clear it out and find one of the eggs!

DM: You find yourselves outside the Queen’s chambers.
Roselia: Gigiddy gigiddy.
Balisar: We were just in the breeding chambers, it’s too late for that.
Roselia: God damn it.

The group immediately begins dueling over miniatures, as is their wont. The question arises as to how a company copyrighted a miniature base, which is no question anyone could answer. They make to set off, but the thri-kreen warn them that the usurpers had brought down a strange creature to aid them. The DM calls for Perception checks!

Elkus: Oops, nope.
Balisar: Nope.
Valan: Nope.
Elkus: Apparently we all die.
DM: …what did you roll?
Valan: Just assume whatever it was, Aurianna saw it.
DM: It’s not about seeing!
Valan: Or felt it.
Roselia: Well, I got a 19…
DM: For those who rolled higher than 7, you feel a subtle rumble.
Elkus: I still don’t feel it!
Balisar: “Hurry!”
DM: It gets louder, and louder, then suddenly stops.
Elkus: “Stopping’s not a good thing…”

They reach the final door, and send Tyr forth to smash it open with his barbarian powers and awesomeness. It isn’t barred or locked, so he has no problem Kool-Aid-Manning his way through it… The DM, on the other hand, can’t pronounce ‘thri-kreen’.

DM: At the back of the room, a gaping hole to an infinite darkness ahead of you. The light cannot touch it.
Balisar: Arcana roll? Would that work?
Elkus: Never has before.
Balisar: And it won’t this time either. Balisar is encumbered by his knowledge. ‘That’s impossible!’

The effect is subtly different from a darkness spell, or so Elkus determines. Lacking a powerful-enough spell to penetrate the darkness, they have no choice but to plunge on through it blindly, forging themselves into some random sort of party order.

Elkus: And there’s Elkus on the floor again. That mini…

Tyr and his d12 HD are sent to the front. Thus, the DM calls for him to make a Dexterity check! Something smashes through the wall!

DM: A large tan-like creature. Tan colored… on its face, huge mandibles. It almost seems similar to the—
Valan: An umber hulk.
Elkus: Yeah.
DM: God damn it.,
Valan: I know what an umber hulk looks like!
Elkus: I’ve used them before!
Valan: It’s cool though. I mean… we’re in trouble.
Elkus: It’s gonna daze us, whatever they do.
Balisar: It’s gonna suck.

Initiative! Mini setup! Rejoicing that Valan will stop dropping his dice so much! Several minutes pass while the group gets organized, after which Aurianna finally discovers they’re fighting an umber hulk. (And continues to refuse to join the table.) Roselia, who lost her character, refuses to do her background as she remakes her. The DM, who was foolishly given time during all this to learn what his monster does, is shocked.

DM: I misread it! I thought this was an action it had to do, no, this is just all the fucking time. Aurianna, make a Charisma saving throw the moment you face the umber hulk.
Elkus: We all do this?
DM: At the beginning of each of your turns.
Aurianna: Modified 20. The umber hulk needs to make a Dex saving throw or take damage.
Valan: ‘Force me to make a saving throw, will you? YOU make a saving throw!’

The umber hulk passes, and Balisar is up! Balisar points out that he rolled terribly on his initiative, and is quickly replaced with Valan!

Balisar: Roll your Charisma save first. You could be confused!
Valan: Yep. (rolling)
Balisar: Whoa, that’s some confused.
Ellkus: What’s the save for that number?
Balisar: Higher than 1.

Valan wanders to the left, promptly running off the map. Elkus fires off Dissonant Whispers, and then Tyr rages! A debate arises over just how many ranges he has left to burn Whatever comes of that – it isn’t clear – Tyr misses with his strike. The umber hulk takes a sweep at Tyr, while Balisar blows his attack roll. Aurianna tries to get some healing underway, while Roselia misses. The exact mechanics of the Boots of Speed are discussed.

Elkus: When you sleep at night, I’m going to turn them on as a prank.

Balisar, unable to act, rambles on in a French accent about ennui, as is his wont, while Tyr botches his save and does nothing. The umber hulk burrows underground!

Elkus: And dies.
Balisar: It forgot it couldn’t do that.
DM: It goes down about 10 feet and then moves an unknown distance horizontally.
Balisar: It’s Albequerqueing it up!
Elkus: I hang up a sign: Umber Hulk Season.

Balisar takes an inordinate amount of time to figure out his next move, then just readies a cantrip. Aurianna heals him, Roselia heals Elkus, and Balisar doesn’t help anyone.

Balisar: You know why the hulk fled? He took UMBRAGE! (playing a sound effect of Fozzie Bear going ‘Waka waka!’) I’ll use that to make it a little better on you guys from now on.
Elkus: It does reduce the sting a little.

The umber hulk emerges and attacks Auriana, causing her to explode like Mega Man touching spikes. The players get three-quarters of the way through adjudicating a critical fumble for the umber hulk before the DM stops them.

Tyr: So what really happened? I’m confused.
Valan: Aurianna’s about to die.
DM: He dug down in front of you guys, then dug out in the other room where Aurianna is. The claws come at you, you’re able to deflect one but the other hits you hard in the side, digging into your side, dealing a whopping 19 points of damage.
Elkus: Digging deep into your soul.
DM: He lunges at you, now that he’s got you, digging in with his mandibles… rolling not so great, a whopping 4 points of damage.
Balisar: Who’s on ramming-a-healing-potion-down-an-unconscious-body’s-throat detail?
Aurianna: Why am I unconscious, I’m not dead yet.
Elkus: Yet.

A game house cat joins the group at the table, as Balisar fires Magic Missiles into the umber hulk.

DM: A good hit! Slams across his face. Messing up his beautiful hypnotic eyes! But they’re still very effective.
Balisar: We should be so lucky…
Aurianna: Another Cure Wounds left, I’m gonna use it on myself!

They spend a while trying to put dice and a character sheet in front of the cat, who absolutely refuses to cooperate with these shenanigans. Roselia turns into a panther. Elkus stumbles onto the verge of madness.

Elkus: Oh, I forgot about this picture! I was at work and I was eating a bag of Peanut Butter M&M’s, right? I look at it – holy fucking shit, the red M&M has a peanut butter pompadour! That’s amazing.
Valan: 12 total.
DM: You’ve punished him!
Valan: And ki expenditure!

The group wanders sideways into a debate of how monk attacks actually work – it turns out Valan was underselling his ability somewhat significantly. The adjudication of this takes way too much time, but ends up with the umber hulk cartoonishly clinging to the hole he made in the ground after being knocked down by Valan,

Elkus: I come around, “HA HA—oh, this is sad.” Is it advantage on prone?
Balisar: If it’s within 5 feet, it’s advantage.
Elkus: So damage is …1d8…
Balisar: 1d8BLADE!
DM: Becaue of the hilarity of the situation, while he’s in the position you get a +3 to saving against it…
Elkus: He’s embarrassed.
Valan: Oh yeah, from my combat fit fighter advantage thing it was actually 18 total damage.
DM: Magically, MORE wounds seem to appear upon his person!
Valan: Now he’s got another black eye. He fell down the stairs, shut your face.
Balisar: Battered Hulk Syndrome…

Tyr continues to misinterpret the use of the Vicious property of his weapon despite it being clarified for the third time, but still deals 13 damage. The umber hulk attempts to dig away, prompting AOOs from all.

DM: As he fell through his limbs foolishly went up, and each of you tagged one, tearing it asunder. Its helpless torso falls to the hole…
Valan: What?! We tore its arms off?!
Balisar: “Guys. Ew.”
Elkus: Get in there. Make sure that it’s dead.
Balisar: It’s dead!

Balisar and Elkus erupt into a slapfight over who has to go verify the kill. The DM rules that they fall into the hole.

Balisar: Balisar and Elkus’s Bogus Journey.
DM: The bodies there… only to confuse you and annoy you, do absolutely nothing.
Balisar: “No time for hesitation! We’ve defeated this guardian but more await. Hurry!”
Elkus: Spooky scary skeletons…
Balisar: (as someone moves his mini up) “The rest of you in front of the squishy wizard, please!”
DM: The squishy wizard DIVES into the darkness for reasons unsure!

They plunge into the magical darkness ahead, shoving Tyr ahead of them. Elkus pulls out his SUNBLADE, using its magical light to help counteract the magical darkness.

DM: You see about thirty feet in front of you now. The area seems blank. Every now and then you see the remains of a thri-keen, and—
Elkus: Close. You forgot an R.
DM: Do you proceed forward?
Elkus: Yes. It’s leading the way! You know what it is!
Elkus: CLONG!
Balisar: You can’t clong me with a solid beam of light. All you can do is cut through me!
Roselia: We should tie a rope to one of the dead bodies, and have a rope to get out.
Elkus: I just start putting down breadcrumbs.

The blade gets weirdly stuck in midair! Elkus tries struggling with it for a bit to try to force it on…

Balisar: “What would cause this?” I wonder -- (rolling) -- but never know.
Elkus: Nope, no way in hell – oh, that’s actually not bad. 14.
DM: The darkness ahead has gotten stronger. It’s almost pushing the light back, but at the same time because the light is coming from the sword, it’s pushing the sword back as well.
Elkus: “The darkness has intensified so heavily that it’s actually a physical force against my own might!”
Balisar: “The power behind this magic is alarming. I fear we’re wandering up against a foe we cannot easily take, but nevertheless we must proceed.”

Elkus powes up his sunblade, which is a thing it can do, and this evaporates the darkness. It blazes up far brighter than it should!

Elkus: “Aaaah! What’d I do…”
Balisar: “I’ve given you bad advice, I fear!”
DM: Don’t worry, you haven’t broken your weapon.
Balisar: “No time for agony in your eyeballs! Onwards! Onwards blindly…”
DM: Ahead of you, you see the remains of the throne room.
Balisar: That’s not good.
Elkus: That’s not a good description.
Balisar: “Remains” is rarely a good description.
DM: Hundreds of…. (a long pause) …the tri-kreen – thri-kreen – there we go! Thri-kreen, digging and digging, and have now revealed a huge pyramid. Atop, an egg. Surrounding it a tired, familiar figure. It seems incredibly weakened from constant battle. Around it, the bodies of many.
Balisar: I’m not sure what difference we could make here against the ‘hundreds of thri-kreen’ description…
DM: They all seem to be very focused on the task of unburying the whole thing. But that’s not even the main… concern at this point. In the back—
Elkus: Oh shit, there’s more!
DM: On the other side of the pit…
Valan: Thousands of thri-kreen!

The audio, as is sadly common, craps out. The old wizard, which is what they face, teleports off his pedestal.

DM: “End the ones below! We have what we need! Kill them all. Take the egg!”
Elkus: I can’t take this guy seriously, he didn’t say ‘OBEY!’.
DM: The trolls pull the rods holding the throne out, holding little clubs from solid rods as they begin to march forward.
Balisar: I like that. That’s good.


Balisar: What? That was clever. I like that.
Valan: His seat is their weapon.
Balisar: They pull the rods out, now they got beatin’ sticks.
Valan: Oh god. I get it. They pulled the pins out.
Balisar: Oh. I -- no, I wasn’t going for that…

Trolls regenerate! Somewhere in the audio gap, Balisar had strategically deployed his Rod of Rulership to charm a phenomenal amount of thri-kreen, so they have an army on their side and are free to focus on the regenerating trolls. The transcriber goes on a soda run and is mocked in absentia.

Balisar: Thri-kreen! Look at your hive, then back to me, then back to your hive. There’s a pyramid in your hive where there shouldn’t be. Why? There’s an evil guy attacking it. Attack him and everything will be coming up diamonds. (Old Spice theme)

A horrible monster wanders onto the battlefield in the form of the cat, which somehow sends the characters to Superhell, aka this gaming table. Initiative at last results! Elkus rolls a 9, which causes a Rammstein eruption.

Balisar: Move me over to the edge… but not past the edge, I’m not doing the Indiana Jones.
DM: Balisar, you touched the egg, a giant boulder is now rolling towards you.
Balisar: …I disbelieve!
DM: The giant boulder now has spikes as well.
Balisar: I… re-believe?
DM: The spikes are now gone.
Elkus: (singing) I re-believe I can fly! I re-believe I can touch the sky!
DM: Valan, Tyr.
Tyr: Aaaaaaaay! My barbarian instincts tell me I need to make my way to those trolls…
Roselia: Elkus looks way too content with that knife.
DM: Around is faster.
Balisar: Don’t – don’t leap into the pit.

Initiative stalls because Aurianna is taking her usual mid-combat whiz, but Valan misses his blast and Tyr misses with a bolt from his hand crossbow. An Arcana roll tells Balisar the new rules for regeneration in this edition: they must deal fire or acid damage to the trolls to stop their regeneration for a turn. Balisar lobs out a fog cloud to block LOS on the caster.

Balisar: And I’m kind of hoping one of the troubles will stupidly stumble the wrong way…
DM: Aurianna… still not here. The army waves against the trolls—
Roselia: What about my turn?! Am I next?!
DM: You’re 16, Roselia. Lot of stuff before you.
Roselia: I’m impatient!
DM: The waves of thri-kreen continues to battle in the pit and bash up against the mountains that are the trolls. The weapons do little damage against the tough skins and regeneration.

The DM merrily describes combat, with thri-kreen getting swept through like they were facing Sauron and PCs leaping over the blows. Roselia, in animal form, bites a troll!

DM: You get a good bite in on his thigh, crunching down, taking a chunk of flesh out.
Elkus: Mmm, yeah.
Balisar: That’s very satisthighzing.
Elkus: No. No! No. No. That begs a waka waka at least.
Balisar: (obliges)
Elkus: Still hurts.
Roselia: Why are you looking at my butt?!
Valan: Why are you SHOWING him your butt?
Roselia: I’m looking for something!
Valan: In your butt?
Balisar: What? What?
DM: Her butt is raping her butt in her own butt.
Elkus: Damn you, Chuck Tingle.

Balisar menaces Roselia with Silly String; Roselia goes down the path of mutually assured destruction by actually unloading a can full-out into his hair. Elkus considers lobbing a Hold Person, but the spell would be ineffective against trolls, so he swaps to Dissonant Whispers. The game derails a bit while people blast Silly String at Roselia, who returns fire at Balisar – who in turn blocks it with surprising competence. Fire wounds a troll and stops his regeneration.

DM: I’ve gone as far as I can go! Everyone’s gone but Aurianna!
Balisar: Assume she Blesses the melee.
Valan: Aurianna-bot has entered the party.

The party pummels the crap out of a troll’s lower leg, this being what they can reach. Valan’s Flurry of Blows finally knocks the troll prone. Balisar makes a joke of his usual quality.

Valan: Turn the audio off. The party wipes. Game over.
DM: One day, one day, you’re gonna say one and Valan’s gonna be like…
Valan: If you’re still doing that shit when we’re in a nursing room, it’ll be like, “Valan’s off his fucking meds again, shoot him up with thorazine...”

Balisar continues to make jokes, prompting the DM to rule that his Rod of Rulership shatters. Productively, Balisar casts Minor Illusion to try to extend the apparent safe part of the pit.

Balisar: Aurianna! You’re up!
Aurianna: Did I already Bless the melee…
Balisar: Yeah, that was last turn.
Aurianna: He’s yelling at me by phone…
Balisar: I just texted you, don’t act like I was yelling!
Elkus: Was it all-caps and exclamation points?
Balisar: NO!
Elkus: That’s all I’m asking!
DM: Was the first letter capitalized, and did he have an exclamation point?
Elkus: It’s always capitalized, because he’s very proper with his grammar.
Balisar: I did not, I didn’t even put a period.
Elkus: Wow. I always feel bad when I text with Balisar cause he’s always capitalizing and using proper punctuation.
DM: (actually reading the text in question) You bless the melee, comma, I assume.
Aurianna: You know what happens when you assume.
Elkus: You fart uncontrollably?
Tyr: You get everything right?
Valan: You fall down the stairs?
Balisar: You make an ass out of, um, the letter E?
Aurinna: Am I knocked down?
DM: No.
Balisar: But you get up again, we ain’t ever gonna keep you down.
Aurianna: I’m going back upstairs.

Renditions of the Katamari Damacy theme, of various quality, erupt (as does one Bane impression, probably unrelatedly). Aurianna casts Guiding Bolt, slamming it into a troll something fierce. Graciously, the DM allows the PCs to benefit from the advantage it gives instead of wasting it on a thri-kreen grunt. A troll tries to see through Balisar’s illusion.

DM: “This no here before!” Oh god, he rolled a 2?! “Seems good to me! Me go circle round and get ‘em in the back!”

Bitterly, the DM gives the troll a save, causing it to slide down into the pit rather than tumble. Very careful to follow the initiative order, the DM gives Elkus his turn.

DM: Not one turn missed today. We listen to the recording later, I missed Elkus like 10 times.
Balisar: It was only a three-round combat!
DM: I don’t understand!

Roselia hurls an acid spray at a pair of trolls, splashing one, while Elkus casts Bane on the trolls. One of them saves, resulting in predictable jokes about Bane, breaking, and backs. Valan takes 17 points of damage from clubbing and biting as the dropped troll rises. Roselia reveals she had Poison Spray, not Acid Splash, the entire time, and the group grimly deals with that retroactively.

DM: “Enough of these games.” Bwah! He soars up—
Balisar: (miming him striking his head and collapsing to the ground)
Elkus: “I forgot I was in a cave.”
DM: Soars up just above the cloud. He goes 5 feet above the sphere of the cloud.
Elkus: And falls back in.
DM: “I will do this myself.” Let’s see here… “I will stop you!” The creature gives off a gasp, letting out a wave of energy from its mouth. An invisible force flies out! Nice, he rolled good… The weight of energy dispelled! You can feel the arcane energy evaporate! Sadly – what’s the difficulty to dispel your fog?

It turns out there’s no area dispel in 5E, but their caster enemy has lost his fly spell. Valan and Tyr are up!

Tyr: That one I’ve been beating down? I need to beat him down more.

Tyr does that, but the troll regeneration is still active, so the troll is only down but still healing. Valan scoots past and kicks a troll repeatedly as it clings to the side of the hole. Balisar unleashes his dragonborn acid breath, blasting 2 trolls and the (formerly) flying guy. The flying guy saves.

Balisar: “It seems luck saves you where skill cannot!”
DM: “I’ll get you yet.”
Aurianna: Can I still get that shadowy person with Guiding Bolt?
DM: He’s technically in mid-flight, or what is now mid-fall, he just can’t fall outside his turn the way the rules work. I don’t think.
Balisar: It’s not like a Wile. E. Coyote thing, where you push someone off a cliff and he just stands there. “OOOOH, ya razza-frazza frickin’ rickin’ rough—“ and then his turn comes and he falls, no! He falls right away!

The DM adjudicates that the NPC slams into the ground below, smashing a protective energy barrier around him.

Elkus: (gasping) He’s humanoid! I’ll Hold the shit out of him!
DM: You have the suspicion that he’s probably not humanoid. You feel he might be undead.
Elkus: (sadly) These spells are worthless…
Balisar: You gotta take out that troll anyway.
Elkus: I thought you said you were gonna do it!
Balisar: Then I had to breathe acid so you could kill it.
Elkus: I know.
Balisar: Where’s my silly string… you’re getting a beardful.
Elkus: Then something’s gonna happen to you tonight.

Balisar fails to fire Silly string at Elkus somehow. Vivianne and Balisar get into a huge argument over whether or not he blocked the Silly String she fired at him earlier; in perhaps a first, Elkus sides with Balisar. A troll moves to club Valan for 10, then critically fails a swing.

Aliarra: “Bad Headbutt”. Oh no, it was a melee attack. “Pointy End Goes There”, he takes 1 point of Con damage.
DM: The troll in the fog finally makes his way out of the fog, appearing behind Valan.
Elkus: ‘Oh here you guys are!’
DM: Wow, really, again? His first hit slams in hard, dealing another 12 points of damage. The second hit is the critical failure…
Balisar: “Bruised Ego”, you can attack no other target for 1d4 rounds.
DM: The swing and a miss that occurred is almost a shock and awe. He’s not sure what just happened. Taking a moment, he looks at it, wondering.
Hanzo: Does he think he’s the samurai who made such a clean cut the person should be falling in pieces?

Vivianne attempts to cast Wind Wall to block off the egg. Balisar points out that it doesn’t work that way, leading her to furiously read the rules and discover he was right. No one is happy that Balisar is right, even as they’re unsurprised. Vivianne Vine Whips someone to get him out of position, missed utterly, then remembers her Bless and Wisdom modifiers and hits! Elkus casts Suggestion!

Balisar: Trolls are unfortunately known for their Wisdom…
DM: That’s the third 1 tonight! He epically failed it.

Tyr slays a troll! As usual, the discussion gets weird.

Balisar: It’s Cobra Fudd. “Sweep the weg.”
Valan: I hit the fresh troll for 5 damage.
DM: A good hit!
Valan: Not really…
Elkus: (apropos of nothing) Heh heh heh, his coccyx.
Balisar: “I believe our dignity is in need of a compromising, sir!” I cast Web.

Web is not broken as it was in 3E. Valan narrowly avoids a murdering at the hands of a troll, dodging three misses Matrix-style. Elkus and Balisar trade banter about a ‘protective tip’ that probably wasn’t as suggestive in context as it sound. A troll lurches up the the hill to attack Balisar, but does so incompetently thanks to Bane. Elkus deploys SUNBLADE!

DM: The light burns him! Storytelling-wise, not effectively against fire, but you can see the burning light hiss against his skin! Not enough to stop regeneration.
Vivianne: I want to cast Entangle. It’s within 20 feet to start off…
Balisar: That’s – that’s gonna hit a lot of us.
Vivianne: It’s a Strength roll.
DM: You’re still gonna get them in it! I don’t think you should do that…

Vivianne argues with them all on this point for some times, then gives up in bitter disgust.

Vivianne: I guess I’m just gonna – I’m gonna throw my spear for 16.
Balisar: How ‘bout stab your spear?
Vivianne: If I throw it, it’s more.
Balisar: If you throw it you have disadvantage on the roll, because you’re right next to him.
Vivianne: ‘Kay, I’m gonna use my spear for 16!

Vivianne attempts to roll damage, but takes multiple attempts to pick up a d8 instead of a d10. The NPC is not restrained by the Web.

DM: He’s actually a little too high-level for you guys, I had to drop him down about twenty… thousand experience. He’s not using any of the real cool abilities he has, but you’ll find out about them in a little bit—
Valan: Because he gets away!
DM: “Your games… END!” And you watch as the creature gives off a final howl as his body begins to disintegrate. And he begins to stomp his way up the pedestal. “I will have this egg, and I will control the land! And conquer.”

Tyr crits his way through a troll, dealing 40-some damage to the troll in his way and bisecting it, but its regeneration is still active. The game has run quite over time by this point, though, so they have no choice but to stop there to free up the people who have obligations the next day…