25 July 2016 @ 06:55 pm

We reconvene with the Hoard of the Dragon Queen at LAST, beginning with the DM giving them a summation of the adventure thus far.

DM: Very many an adventure was had on that caravan. Krixxix lost his bow.
Krixxix: Yep!
DM: And his temper! Many times!
Krixxix: He was not too pleased.
Thalynmar: ‘Ha ha, I throw a knife at him!’ ‘What?’
Eben: But not to worry, what’s his name the mild-tempered—
DM: Sulesdag!

Thrilled to be back in the saddle, the group promptly wanders off on a long tangent about the naming of the Soul Calibur series and thence to copyright law.

Eben: So what do we do now? Snapjaw! Snapjaw exposition. Chief of the lizards, what do we do?
Maldrake: What are we doing here again?
Thalynmar: Let’s see here. Crap Wisdom. Right. ‘Krixxix, scout out ahead!’
Eben: I’m calling this the Tower of Druaga. (rolling dice in his dice tower) Typical table shenanigans don’t happen with it, so at least if I’m meant to roll poorly, that’s what happens.
Maldrake: I feel like if you have a cat pet in D&D it should only work half the time. The DM rolls some dice. ‘It seems like your cat wants to do some commands.’ ‘Sorry, she’s not having it today.’
Thalynmar: She fucked off somewhere else.
Maldrake: Reappears later in the game.
DM: Snapjaw tells you that once they brought it in, the cultists took position possession of it. “They brought it to the castle…” (pausing to struggle with Snapjaw’s voice)
Thalynmar: Are you a Jedi Master, by chance?
Maldrake: “Why aren’t there any guards in front of the gate? Seems odd. Did you just knock on it?”
DM: “There are guards. Bullywugs. Warned you about them.”
Thalynmar: Look, you warned us about five months ago, leave us alone.
DM: “The bullywugs are not friends to anyone, but if they believe you are cultists, may be safe.”
Thalynmar: All right, we’ll kill some mobs till we collect enough pieces of their clothing, and in the meantime we’ll craft some pieces of paper we can turn in for reputation.
Eben: Why not just kill some bullywugs and skin them and wear their skins and hop into the castle?
DM: Who are you, Krixxix?
Krixxix: I think it’s at the next level I get to actually, as an assassin, I can mutate myself into someone else to sneak around.
DM: Mutuate yourself?
Eben: Mutate?!
Thalynmar: You’ve been reading the wrong book.
Maldrake Oh no, you rolled a 1 on your Disguise check, you’re now Bebop for an hour.

Naturally, this leads into a long digression of Face/Off and the respective merits of Travolta and Cage. The PCs elect to leave their recruited lizardmen, except for Snapjaw, behind to avoid extra suspicion. Krixxix furiously attempts to volunteer himself to schmooze past the bullywug guards, using his high Charizard stat. They approach the gate, seeing sagging gates and a rusty portcullis.

Thalynmar: I visibly cringe.
DM: It’s – it’s horrible to look at. Inside the barbican, a path of planks leads from the gateway to the causeway entrance, but the rest of it is filled with mud over the stone floor. As you approach, several bullywugs emerge from the mud.
Eben: Frog people! Frog people!
DM: One of them croaks at you.
Eben: Does anyone speak Bullywug? They don’t have their own language—
DM: Damn straight they do.
Thalynmar: Do they really.
Eben: They speak Bullywug?
DM: Yes.
Krixxix: Do they speak thief talk?
DM: No!
Thalynmar: Burglar my nurglar, shurglar?
DM: Croak my broke, bloke?
Lualyrr: Put words in my mouth, guys!
DM: Roleplay, Lualyrr!
Lualyrr: Yeah, and how long has it been since I’ve done that?
DM: It’s like falling off a bike, you never forget how?

A pause.

Maldrake: FALL OFF a bike?
Krixxix: You’re FALLING off a bike?
Lualyrr: That’s rich coming from you, you don’t know how to ride a fucking bike!
DM: But I know how to fall off one.
Krixxix: That’s right. He made a point.
Maldrake: I don’t think you have active knowledge on how to fall.
Thalynmar: ‘And now, I fall.’ Thud.
Eben: I don’t know what languages I speak.
Thalynmar: I speak Common and Dwarvish.
Maldrake: I speak Common, Draconic, and Dwarven.
DM: No one speaks Bullywug.
Thalynmar: Why is it – you get that character, you have an extra slot. ‘Ah, fuck. Bullywug.’
DM: ‘This will come up.’
Maldrake: If someone had it, it wouldn’t have. Bullywug comes out of the swamp. ‘Hello. Who goes there?’
DM: Seeing you all not responding, the bullywug—
Lualyrr: I’m going to put my hands on my hips. “You’re late. We we’re supposed to be there ten minutes ago.”
DM: The bullywug makes a croaking noise in the depths of its throat. Roll an Intimidate check.
Lualyrr: I rolled a natural 20.
DM: Croaking things that are probably imprecations towards Snapjaw, the bullywugs flop off of the platform, splattering mud on them as they ooze back into their slimy domain. They and a few giant frogs stare at you as you make your way to the causeway.

With a choice between the causeway and the stairs, they naturally elect to split the party and send Krixxix up to scout the upper level. Creeping up, Krixxix spots no less than nine bullywugs keeping watch with plenty of scattered stones to heave down at any attackers. He also sees a signal drum made of a large hollow log.

Krixxix: How strong are bullywugs?
Thalynmar: I don’t remember.
DM: But there’s a lot more of them than you.
Krixxix: I know that, I was wondering if it’s better for me to sneak down and tell you guys, or – the drum’s in the middle of them?
Eben: They’re not going to sound an alarm just for seeing us.
Krixxix: No, I want to steal the drum.
Maldrake: You can’t steal the drum!
DM: You could fit easily in this drum!

Maldrake takes everyone on a tour of his opinions on the soundtrack to Commando. Debating between stealth and catching up, Krixix gets out of the barbican and reaches the group as they dawdle their way down the causeway. He then discovers he doesn’t remember what his voice sounds like at all.

Krixxix: “I must warn you! There are nine bullywugs hiding up there with an alarm they can set off at any time! We must move silently and quickly, because they are not currently paying attention this way.”
Thalynmar: “Hokay!” Kadunk, kadunk, kadunk, kadunk,.
Raven: Moving silently is not what I’m good at.

Snapjaw explains the signals the drum is used for, and the group tries to quietly shove Raven into the front to soak damage.

Krixxix: Isn’t that Slackjaw?
Eben: Slackjaw!
DM: (staring at them, slack-jawed) ‘You impressive warriors!’
Thalynmar: Now he’s Lockjaw.
DM: (through clenched teeth) “This sucks. Give me straw so I can eat.”
Thalynmar: Yeah, but we’re not gonna mush up your food.
DM: The outer ward, the courtyard basically, is also in bad shape. There are a bunch of doors, and in the center of it, there is one lizardman who is trying to train a giant lizard, despite the cheering mockery of several bullywugs who are loafing over to one side, generally making fun of his efforts and calling out demeaning orders to him which he obeys, apparently with little choice. As you head in, a few of them notice you with Snapjaw and call out several things in Bullywug which you can probably assume are implications of what you would like to do with the lizardman in a romantic fashion.
Raven: Lovely.
Krixxix: ‘Snapjaw, they made us out!’
Eben: Is the trying to goad us into combat in the module or is that just your personal touch?
Thalynmar: Little from Column A, little from Column B.
DM: (raspy) I swallowed wrong and it hurt.
Eben: Hunger of Hadar!

The conversation wanders into a long, weird debate over Kerrigold Butter and its role in poverty. Eventually they wander back to the idea of finding the treasure, and query Snapjaw. He points out the barracks and a place where cultists apparently gather. Choosing from among their limited options, they head to the Great Hall. The conversation gets weird.

Krixxix: Dude. There was a Jew once who could jump.
Maldrake: Oh god. Who are you going for? WHO ARE YOU GOING FOR?
Krixxix: I don’t know, I’m just sure that there was one.
Maldrake: I wanted something epic. Fail.
DM: In any case. You head into the great hall. On the side that you’re in, there’s a table and four people are seated around it. They look up at you with minor frowns as you enter.
Maldrake: The security of these bloody cultists are just so crazy.
DM: On the right side, you see some of the contraband you’ve been looking for.
Maldrake: Is there any food, a place to just set up to grab and eat?
DM: No.
Maldrake: Is there a menu, where you get food? A counter where a guy’s cooking food?
DM: Not in here!

Krixxix accidentally turns off the volume to Raven. A dozen cultists work at examining the coins and loot on the other side, while others are making boxes and chests, while one of the guards rises to ask them why another shift is here so soon.

Krixxix: “They were upset with the speed at which everything is done, so they sent us to help.”
Thalynmar: Why are you rolling the die still? He rolled a 6, 4, and then a 1. And then a 6 again. It has betrayed you, sir.
Eben: You knew it would happen.
Krixxix: I knew it would.
DM: “Fine. Go build some more boxes. The rest of the loot coming in, we probably need plenty.”

Krixxix tries to volunteer himself to sort the loot, of course. The guards shut this down, but he still appraises the situation for any angle to benefit himself.

Thalynmar: We’ll make a few boxes, address them to ourselves, and we’ll be rich later.
DM: You make it over there and realize something you hadn’t thought of. One of the guards snaps at Snapjaw to get back to the forge. Snapjaw gives you kind of a look, hopes you have a plan, and trudges off.
Eben: There goes Snapjaw.
Krixxix: I was going to say he was actually ordered to stay with us. Who has good Deception? I have 7, anyone else have better. Anyone else ROLLING better?
Thalynmar: I have 0 Deception and an 11 Charisma – YOU ROLLED IT AGAIN! I told you to stop rolling it!
Eben: 7 is high.
Krixxix: Yeah, but I keep rolling shit.
DM: You roll shit. The guard pays no heed to your argument. “His kind aren’t for here.”
Krixxix: Anybody’s welcome to jump in and help on this one, I got nothing.

Shrugging, the group eats cake! A brief audio skip obscures some of Krixxix’s plan: freaking out loudly that he NEEDS MORE NAILS! MORE NAILS NOW!

DM: “Calm down, friend,” one of them calls out, apparently unwilling to get any closer to you.
Krixxix: ‘It’s not herpes!’
Maldrake: I feel like I should have gotten in-between them and broken out my hammer and been like, ‘my FEAR ability, woo!’
Krixxix: They lied to me! They said what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But the herpes stayed with me!
DM: Give me a quick Perception check.
Maldrake: 18.
DM: Two of the guards you are not engaged with are whispering to each other. The name “Borngray” comes up. They seem to be debating if they should go get him or deal with this themselves.
Maldrake: Time to roll another Deception.
Thalynmar: ‘You leave Borngray out of this if you know what’s good for you!’

Rolling Persuasion, Maldrake dissuades them from summoning whoever this boss is, and one of the guards goes to get ‘forge lizard man’.

Krixxix: All right, one guard down! Let’s kill the rest!
DM: …he says out loud.
Raven: We’re MLG pro.
DM: Now one of the guards has gone off. Will you wait, or will you actively slaughter them all?
Maldrake: How many guards are there?
DM: Three, plus the dozen cultists—
Krixxix: A dozen cultists.
Thalynmar: Are they considered noncombatants?
DM: Ha ha, you wanna try?

Maldrake quickly checks the rules on his Mace of Terror, figuring it to be an excellent way to get the drop on the guards. He elects to deploy this plan with the maximum of subtlety.

Maldrake: “Hey guys! Check out this SWEET MACE!”
DM: You fire off the mace, forgetting to exclude your comrades.
Maldrake: Just – just the three near me. The three guards.
Eben: ‘Look at this sweet mace!’ He said maize, I thought he had corn to show.
DM: They kind of jerk back as you draw your weapon, being of course trained to respond to such things, but you fire off its power. Immediately two of them shriek and begin to run, while the third, as the fear washes over him, stands his ground. “TRAITOR!” he yells. (miming whipping his scimitar around)

Initiative results, of course, leading to an argument over initiative stats in SWRPG, and thence to ranch on fries.

Maldrake: Oh I forgot to tell you! The Hard Rock Café had pountine!


Lualyrr: Pountine!
Eben: Had – what.
Thalynmar: Uh, minus one N.
Maldrake: Poutine.
Eben: The Russian Prime Minister was there?
Maldrake: No, that’s Putin.

The PCs abruptly discover, as earlier-discussed, that they are surrounded by cultists. The minis are all so awesomely painted everyone is confused. Raven and Eben somehow manage not to be at the bottom of the initiative order, while Thalynmar refuses to respond to the name Thanlymar for some reason. He is first to act! Two strikes dispatch two cultists, and the PCs realize just how much thing have changed since they were in pitched battle with these guys at first level. Lualyrr shoots one, albeit nonfatally. A dragonclaw slashes Maldrake for 18! The cultists draw their weapons!

Raven: So, how did we end up in this position again?
Thalynmar: We went Krixxix, just because we can.

The cultists do a lot of missing and chip damage, and then Maldrake hacks at the dragonclaw guard, taking him down, then jumps on the table. Raven wades into the evil mooks, ignites his flametongue, and starts chopping furiously – missing but using Sweeping Attack on the second blow to drop one and cleave a second. As near as the transcriber can tell, the group them body-slams the mic repeatedly. Raven takes 7 damage from a scimitar, while dragonclaws cower in continuing fear! Eben plans a shot at a cultist, though the DM spots a bit of a problem with the minis.

DM: Raven flings his shield out, interfering with your blow!
Eben: Oh wait, that’s a bad guy? Oh. I guess I’m going to have to… cast defensively.

Eben misses, while Krixix plots a path to fire at the ONE guy in the entire combat besides him who hasn’t acted. 21 points of damage drop the guy, even as Krixxix is exposed in the center of the fray. Thalynmar chops down cultists.

Maldrake: Did you play Mass Effect 1? I like to call it the Elevator Simulator. Every time you went to a loading screen it was an elevator. “So Shepard, I hear they’re making pies on the station today.”

Lualyrr fires, Krixxix takes 3! The two facts are not connected. Several more cultists charge into the fray! Maldrake unloads his acid breath into the cultists who just charged in, dropping three of four in a cluster. The battle continues in… reasonably uninteresting ways as blows are exchanged left and right.

Thalynmar: You can hit this guy, can’t you?
Eben: Lots of people I can hit, but I’m gonna take an AOO for doing anything.
DM: No, you’ll just take a disadvantage.
Eben: Which means I’m going to miss. Trying to see if I have any option that isn’t ‘still miss’. And there really isn’t… (rolling)

Eben slays a dude and they start counting kills, LOTR-style. Krixxix scrambles under the table to hide.

Krixxix: There’s a reason I’m hiding.
Thalynmar: It’s so you don’t get damaged any more.
Maldrake: I want the guard who doesn’t know anything that’s happening to walk in as the fight’s over. “Okay I brought him.” We’re just…
Raven: And then someone jumps from under the table to stab him in the neck.

Guard drakes burst in the door abruptly! Eben bemoans this as the Agent Smith fight.

Krixxix: We weren’t supposed to get in a fight in this place so the DM had to look through and see exactly the total number in the castle, and the whole castle’s converging on us right now.
DM: To be fair, it specifically says ‘a fight in here will not go unnoticed, everything pours in that’s nearby’.
Eben: This just means we roll initiative once instead of five times.

Thalynmar kills, crits, and kills again! Maldrake leaps onto the table to slash a cultist.

DM: You have the high ground.
Thalynmar: ‘I’ll crit you with my leap power!’
Maldrake: 12 points of damage to him!
DM: You slash the cultist! One arm, one hand, and a leg fly off as he collapses to the ground!
Maldrake: What about my second attack? DAMN IT!
DM: Stop rolling on the edge!
Maldrake: I’m trying!
DM: Move your phone!

Maldrake and Raven pummel a guard drake. Raven foolishly uses a maneuver.

Maldrake: It takes A to the N plus 5 points of damage.
Krixxix: And then Satan said, ‘I’m gonna put the alphabet in math!’
Raven: It takes 7 physical, 8 fire, and it needs to make a Wisdom saving throw.
DM: With its massive Wisdom it should have NO problem. What’s the difficulty?
Maldrake: Why? Why, God of Fate, could you not have him say that and have him roll a natural 1?
Raven: 15.
DM: It failed. Because its Wisdom isn’t good, so it doesn’t have a modifier.

Eben blasts, and everyone gets extra-grunty about it for some reason. A dragonclaw misses vigorously and with much description. Krixix rolls out from under the table and knifes a drake critically!

DM: Snarling in anger, the first drake attacks Maldrake. Once with its bite, and once with its tail -- (rolling, then violently facepalming)
Krixxix: It rolled a 1!
DM: It rolled TWO 1s!
Thalynmar: Oh wow.
DM: Fate is just handing you this victory. Hand me the fumble deck… let’s go back to Star Wars.
Eben: You guys won but you’re teetering close to the Dark Side. There is no victory.
DM: First one. He’s battered! Slaps himself around with his tail and takes a -2 penalty on skill checks and saves for 1d4 hours. Second one, he broke a nail! Takes 1d4 points of damage and he can’t attack with his bite any more.

The other two drakes are more effective, inflicting harm on the PCs. Thalynmar returns fire, harming the drake but not dropping it. The DM starts dropping more figures onto the mat.

Eben: Are you kidding?!
DM: Bullywugs! Remember the ones that were out in the courtyard?

Lualyrr promptly counters their arrival with a Shatter spell. Maldrake, who realizes he’s actually hurting pretty bad at this point, takes the Dodge action to tank the creatures around him. Raven attacks into the fray, and promptly rolls a 1.

DM: Let’s see what your fumble is. You threaten no squares for 1d6 rounds. Your helmet has slipped slightly and your vision is compromised! You’re swinging your sword wildly but can take no advantage of the movement around you!
Raven: What does that mean?
DM: You can’t take attacks of opportunity.
Eben: You’re like Arnold with his hat pushed too far down on his head while drinking…
DM: Maldrake, you take 5 points of damage from the dragonclaw’s scimitar slash but your Dodge action saves your ass hardcore as you catch his next blow on your shield.
Eben: Another 7! In the back!
DM: In the back!
Eben: Well, that’s currently what I’m shooting at. Or I could just do it over my shoulder.
DM: 360 no-scope, bitches! Down it goes.
Eben: Oh good!
Thalynmar: Thank Christ!

Raven steps into the fray again, slashing a bullywug but nonfatally, and then rolling a 1.

DM: Goddamn.
Raven: Second turn in a row I crit-failed an attack.
DM: Uh, roll a Wisdom saving throw.
Eben: You stab yourself in the foot. Or you barreled straight into a truck of manure.
DM: You lunge forward, slashing blindly, trip, slam your head onto the side of the table, and fall unconscious.
Eben: Take that, Pontiff Sullivan!
Raven: Okay! I’m out!
Thalynmar: He ends the call.
DM: Oooh, we Ebened him.

Krixix gets the hell out of dodge, and Maldrake’s dodging saves his ass as the drakes attack him. He misses an AOO because of a table interfering.

Krixxix: Soon as our combat’s over I plan to move this giant pile of corpses into the room and be like, “All right! We’re done!”
Thalynmar: We should box them up. “Guys, we got a job to fix it.”
Eben: ‘Boxes, here, makin’ boxes here!’
Thalynmar: ‘Hey, leave me out of this!’

Eben gets beaten on by a drake and casts Hellish Rebuke at it in reaction, dealing 10 damage. Thalynmar kills a drake! He also mistakes a Link to the Past boss death sound as a Paladin’s Quest boss death sound.

Thalynmar: My brain’s really off today with music, it’s crazy.
Eben: You got… Drake Tail!
Maldrake: Drake Beard, his beard changes.

Wes appears to smash tables, while Lualyrr heals Maldrake’s wounds. Naturally, Paladin’s Quest discussion emerges. Eben crits, and massively undersells his own damage, then follows up with a max-damage shot! The players discuss what wrestlers they should make in D&D. Guard drakes attack with tails, tossing some damage onto poor Maldrake again.

Eben: Where the hell is Snapjaw?!
Thalynmar: Does a 12 hit the bullywug? 13, sorry.
DM: No. Thalynmar is ashamed. “I hope no one saw that!”
Thalynmar: Does a 19 hit?
DM: “I hope everyone saw that!”

The group is scolded for not saying the magic word (PLEASE!), and then it goes around to Lualyrr.

Lualyrr: Can I do another Shatter in the middle of this?
All: NO!
Eben: You would nail Thalynmar AND Maldrake.
Lualyrr: Nope, bad idea.
Maldrake: And yourself.

Lualyrr doesn’t do it. Maldrake bashes a drake to death!

DM: Raven! You’re asleep. Eben!
Raven: My turns have been full of action and adventure.

Eben makes with the attacking, while Krixix desperately bids for a sneak attack that he just can’t pull off.

Thalynmar: You don’t HAVE to do massive damage every turn.
Krixxix: Yes I do! YES I DO!
Thalynmar: Well that’s true, he DOES have to make up for all the crap he keeps failing outside of combat.

Lualyrr kills the final drake, and Eben hurriedly robs her of any credit. No more creatures come through the door, but they do hear the thumping of the drum echoing through the halls!

Eben: It’s Sonic, he’s racing for a Chaos Emerald!
Maldrake: I did tell the other dragons if they heard a commotion, to start going wild.
DM: Well, what are you guys doing?
Eben: We’re going down a half-pipe.
Maldrake: Tails just lost more rings for us again. You fuck!
Thalynmar: Raven! Wake up! (slapping Raven)
DM: Raven, you wake up. Someone is violently slapping you. Clearly it’s an attack. What do you do?

Raven refuses to rise to the bait, while Maldrake heals himself. The group wonders just how much more combat the castle will bring, while the DM asks them, with some confusion, if they’re not stealin all the loot.

Krixxix: Now that we’re here, these boxes, do they look like they’re being shipped off somewhere? Can we change the address?
DM: No!
Eben: They don’t have UPS labels on them.

The DM awards them the LOOT! The amount of loot is nowhere near what they expect to claim, so clearly their task is not yet done. As they ponder their next step, they see a dwarf in the courtyard, running!

Thalynmar: Does he look like he’s a cultist?
Raven: That’s probably not a good sign.
DM: He’s carrying a butcher knife in one hand and wearing an apron around his—
Thalynmar: Is he running towards us?
DM: No, he’s running across the courtyard!
Krixxix: Yes! I rolled to shoot him in the leg, to disable him.
Thalynmar: Oh my god, why are you shooting this dude? He’s trying to escape! Maybe he’s a slave of these people and he’s trying to get out! And now you’re crippling him so he can’t escape any more! Jesus Christ, you are a terrible person!
Krixxix: Oh, I thought he was running at us.
DM: NOW you’re all “Oh I thought he was running at us”!
Krixxix: I thought you said he was coming towards us with a butcher knife!
DM: No! I said he was running across the courtyard!
Thalynmar: I’m going to bandage Krixxix, across the head, very tightly.
Krixxix: I’m going to fire a shot across him to get him to stop running.
Krixxix: I wasn’t trying to hit him!
DM: He still yelped! “THIS ISN’T WORTH IT!”
Krixxix: “Do you know where they’re hiding the treasure?”
DM: Who are you asking?!
Krixxix: The dwarf—
Krixxix: I fired an arrow to make him stop running!
DM: He didn’t stop running! He ran faster!
Eben: You’re running away from someone shooting a gun at you…
Thalynmar: ‘Feets don’t fail me now!’
DM: In the distance you hear the faint sound of combat.
Thalynmar: They rise up, rise up, rise up.

They head around the tower, into the inner ward, and spot a combat between lizardmen and bullywugs which Krixxix immediately fires into, followed by Eben.

DM: Both of the bullywugs are down from cowardly attacks from the backside. Probably with poison.
Krixxix: Dark Side points!
Eben: Poisoned eldritch blasts?

Snapjaw steps down the stairs with a bloody scimitar and the group gasps at the sight, ascribing all sorts of insane motivations to this flavor text. He tells them the bullywug leader is downstairs, and that his people will hold upstairs. But after that grand melee, the hour is late and the game shall come to an end…