I have been remiss. I spent last Sunday with my daughter, at Ikea and at a computer store to get her all set up with a desk and a new computer. I didn’t have time to write my blog. Instead, I got to spend the day with my daughter. As much as I enjoy gaming, and then blogging about my gaming, spending time with my daughter is much more rewarding.
We had meatballs at Ikea. I had no idea that Ikea had decided to expand beyond their typical meatball fare. Then now have chicken meatballs and vegetarian meatballs. I have no specific problem with the standard Ikea mystery meat meatballs, especially when you cover them in cream sauce, the lingonberry jam and some hot sauce. Ikea does the hot sauce right. They have Cholula hot sauce, which is one of the best tasting over the counter hot sauces you can get at Safeway or Albertsons.
I am a hot sauce and spicy food junkie. I love spicy food. Not habanero type hot. Not ghost pepper hot, but food that has some kick. I generally get Thai, Szechuan, and other food like that 5 stars hot. When I was a kid, my parents didn’t like hot food. I didn’t develop a taste for it until I got into the Army. The food in the Army was awful. However, hot sauce gave it something. I started out with Tabasco. It was interesting. Kind of vinegary, kind of salty, a little spicy. Then I started trying other hots sauces. For my money, Frank’s Hot Sauce is pretty good, Tabasco is only on my food if the restaurant has nothing else, but my choice is always Cholula or Tapatio. The best hot sauce available out there is hard to get, that is Chiu Chow Chili Oil. That is hard to get, but it is amazing.
I love this stuff. The only problem is that I can only find it at Uwajimaya, an Asian grocery that is about 20 miles from my home, which depending on traffic, may be an hour or more drive each way. We go a couple of times a year, and I get 6 or 8 bottles to last me for a few months. The last time we went to Uwajimaya, they had one (1) single solitary lonely bottle of Chiu Chow Chili Oil. It was a very sad day. I liberated this sole bottle, taking some solace knowing that I was rescuing it to be consumed in Washington State, instead of the horrors of northwest Portland Oregon. If a bottle of this had to give its life for the betterment of food, let it be in a place where the air is clean, rivers flow smoothly and the state name starts with a W, instead of an O.
Chiu Chow Chili Oil is spicy, garlicy goodness. There are knock off brands, but the red chilis are not ground as fine, so you get pieces of dried-reconstituted chili flakes in your food. The Lee Kum Kee sauce is perfect. It is amazing on everything.
Now, I love other hot sauces and condiments. The local Indian grocery store has an amazing selection of hot sauces, chutneys and other delicious edibles. My favorite Indian hot sauce by far is a nice little bottle of garlic pickle relish by a company that I think is called “Deep”.
This stuff seems to have three ingredients. Garlic, salt and red chilis. OK, there are other ingredients, but this stuff is nicely spicy and as a bonus has whole cloves of garlic mixed in. It is pretty close to burn your mouth spicy, but it is amazingly delicious.
Sriracha is ok. Don’t get me wrong, I like it. It is a standard that is at Teriyaki and Mongolian grill restaurants, and other fine eating establishments, but it needs some balance. Sriracha goes well with a sweet Teriyaki dinner, as the balance of the sweet and the salty / spicy works well. On its own, it is just hot. I like hot sauces that are blends of hot and something else. Hot and garlic, hot and sweet, that sort of thing. Sriracha has some garlic overtones, but it is pretty much salty and hot. This is good, but it needs to be paired with something to make me want to eat it.
Wow, I started talking about how I spent the day with my daughter, instead of writing my blog, and I got onto another thing that I care passionately about, hot sauce.
Let’s see. What does Rob care passionately about?
- My family
- My dogs
- Board and role playing games
- Painting minis
- Hot sauce
- Hatred of Jar Jar Binks
Yup, that is about it. Nowhere in there is religion, politics, sports, The Who…
I have no specific feelings of Windows versus Mac. Nor about IOS vs. Android.
I actually don’t hate any specific characters or versions of Star Trek. All the people who shit themselves spewing about Wesley Crusher just need to take a fucking Valium. Now, I do prefer some of the Star Trek movies over others. Like in my list of Star Trek movies, Nemesis and the Undiscovered Country are at the bottom of the list, but I will still watch them. Like any rational person, I understand that even a piece of shit Star Trek movie is infinitely better than the horrors of watching a movie with Jar Jar in it. And if you are a serious science fiction movie connoisseur, and can get beyond the horrors of Jar Jar, you might notice that there was a very flat acting job by Natalie Portman.
I thought that Ms. Portman was trying to channel her inner Queen Valaria from Robot Holocaust, with the horrible acting that she was doing in her Star Wars role. At least Natalie Portman wore panties, and didn’t pinch her nipples before each scene. A note for all directors, actors, and actresses, if your movie rating isn’t an “X”, many people in the theater do not want to know that you are going commando under your outfit. Seeing a woman wearing gold lame spandex going commando does not make the viewers like her acting ability any more.
Seriously, the clip above is so worth watching in the entirety. 2 minutes, 32 seconds in “Then your daughter is a bigger fool than you are” is Oscar worthy.
Now, in terms of acting ability, Natalie Portman’s abilities are pretty much on par with Angelika Jager’s talents. Now keep in mind that I love crappy sci fi movies. Robot Holocaust is one of my all time favorite movies. I even watched the Gor movies several times. These movies had the phenomenal acting skills of Urbano Barberini as Tarl Cabbot, but sadly, even the casting of Jack Palance could not save the script of Gor II.
Now it may be hard to believe, but the movies for the Gor storyline may actually be better than the books. I remember reading the books when I was in middle and high school. I had a good friend who played D&D with me, and we were desperate for something to read after we had all read all of the Tolkien books we could find. I mean we even read the Silmarillion, we were so desperate for something that was fantasy based. Sean came across the Gor books. We read them as 14 year old boys, not knowing that women didn’t appreciate books with misogynistic overtones. My mother was aghast. How could I be reading that trash? At the time, I was alternating between Gor books, Mack Bolan / Executioner books and hard sci fi by Ben Bova, Frank Herbert, and such. Gor was easy fantasy. I could read a book in a weekend. Not that I was a great or fast reader, they were just crappy books that I could tear through quickly.
I had an English class in 8th grade, where we could get extra credit for writing book reports. Mack Bolan books and Gor books were awesome. Once I wrote the core book report for the series, I could read an Executioner book or a Gor book in about 4 hours, and write up the report. There were like 200 books in the Executioner series, and about 40 in the Gor series. All I had to do was jot down the names of the specific bad guys, where the action took place, and what specific weapons were used. It also helped to know what the getaway vehicle was. I could pound out a book report within 15 minutes, based on the formula of the book and the madlibs style of book report I was using. It was awesome. I had so many extra credit points in that class, I would have had the A+++++++++++++++ grade that Ralphie dreamed of for his theme in A Christmas Story.
Anyhow, about five years ago, I was at Powells books in downtown Portland, and I saw… what? A section of Mack Bolan novels… AND a section of Gor novels. I bought one of each. I thought, I could relive my childhood. Guess what. They sucked. They sucked on ice. Something happened to the text of these books where they went from masterpieces of literature to absolute fucking crap. What the fuck had Del and Doubleday done to screw up the formula? I was reading the first GOR book, and it struck me as to how amazingly stupid, lame and bad it was. The first Executioner book was full of unsympathetic unbelievable characters, tripe dialog and cliche bullshit. When I was 15 these were masterpieces of modern literature. Why had Ms. VanWierengen given me so much extra credit in my 8th grade English class if the novels sucked so badly?
Maybe…. just maybe, she didn’t give a fuck. Maybe she was happy that Sean and I weren’t causing problems in the class? Maybe 8th grade teachers are all about busy work, and they don’t really care if it is good work or not. I wonder… I was well liked by my English 101 professor in college. I was the only male in the class who was not pledging to a fraternity, so I was the only one who came to the 7:30 AM class, Monday, Wednesday and Friday who wasn’t still drunk from playing 100 the night before.
The 100 club was a game at the WSU frats, which was 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes. The pledges would have to succeed at the 100 club at least once before they checked off that checkbox on their pledge card. Evidently it was not enough to succeed at the 100 club once, you should do it several times. It wasn’t good beer. It was the shittiest animal beer that they could buy. I didn’t do this at WSU, but when I transferred to the UW, it was still a big deal. Now I wasn’t a fraternity pledge. I figured that after going through basic training in the Army, I didn’t need some snot nose fucknugget who had joined the year before me treating me like a newby dweeb. Fuck that shit. I had Drill Sergeant Minolo Pitolo, and Senior Drill Sergeant Henry who knew how to mess with your mind.
I did get invited to a lot of frat parties. I went to some. I was invited, not because I was a female, which I am not. I was invited because I had a skill that all frat members needed. I could tutor them through their obligatory business math classes. The frat boys were nice enough. I didn’t have any Revenge of the Nerds moments. I had a reputation that I could get them a good grade at Business Calculus, and that was awesome for them. Most of the frat brothers that I met were pretty nice guys. They did like to party. They partied a lot. I could choose which parties to go to, and they paid well for the tutoring. The one interesting thing that I found was that even though I was there, I didn’t have a lot in common with the people there. They were friendly, and they had lots of cheap beer, but they had different interests than me. There was no way that they would be caught dead at a Jackie Chan movie night at the Guild 45th.
So let’s see. I have rambled on about:
- hot sauce
- Jar Jar
- women wearing no underwear
- Mack Bolan
Yup, that about fits the overall need to ramble about unrelated things before I talk about the adventure.
So we picked up where we left off. I was hoping to have some long term fun, as in more than a few sessions, but Collin had other plans. Yes, you, Collin.
The goblins left the dungeon, and found themselves in a desert. The wall behind them. It is hot, dry and dusty. The goblins argue and bicker as to what direction they should go. The sun is in a late afternoon position, and the desert is sandy, has lots of rocks and saguaro cactus.
The goblins decide to go away from the sun, since it is hot, and going in the direction of the setting sun will only make it hot longer. The goblins walk for quite a while and it gets dark. They come up to a rocky area, and smell a fire. Shari and Eric go forward to check out the smoky smell. As they round a large rock, they find 6 dead monsters. They all have holes in them, about the size of an arrow. There are no arrows, but the wounds have bled. The men have long leather coats, which almost act as capes, They also have long metal poles with wooden pieces stuck on one end. Several of the men also have leather belts with shiny things stuck into slots and some small leather pockets with metal and wooden that are monster hand sized.
Shari, being Shari strips the leather duster off one of the corpses and puts it on.then they start taking objects off the dead monsters. Looting the body seems to be a pretty popular thing with this group of goblins. What am I saying, it doesn’t’ matter what game this group is playing, looting the body is a major part of the role play.
Shari and Eric come back to the party, and show off what they got. They didn’t explain what the smoke was from, in fact, I believe that they forgot about the smoke. The party goes back to the corpses of the monsters, and see a monster squatting next to a campfire, tending to a pot of something cooking on the fire.
Then they look back, and see that the man has dissipated. Not knowing where the man went, they did the only rational thing that goblins would do, they approach the fire. Out of the blackness, something smacks Collin on the head, and he goes down, hard, cold.
Now normally, this would cause a group of rational critters to rethink whether or not they should stick around. Not this group. Mike thinks he sees something and bravely rides his goat towards the darkness. Something whips out of the darkness and hits Sue on the head, stunning her. She is still OK, but she is hurt. Then Shari is hit, once again just hurting her. Collin isn’t so lucky. He is knocked out.
Mike bravely rides his goat to what he thinks is the bad monster. He charges with the goat, and Goaty trots forth. The goat stops quickly, and Mike fails his roll, so he bucks over the head of the goat, into a well hidden pit trap, that is 10 feet across, 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep. Now the goat doesn’t fall into the trap, and Mike desperately tries to save himself, so he grabs the horns of the goat and hangs on for dear life.
Now, something was going on with the weapons of the goblins. I didn’t quite follow it, but there was a scimitar that Collin grabbed and desperately wanted to keep, but once he was knocked out by whatever was in the dark, Shari grabbed it, then Eric grabbed it… It was kind of confusing.
Hellfire, Jim-Bob, everything about this goblin adventure is confusing. That is why I spent so much time rambling about hot sauce and women going commando.
Long story short, somehow, with Mike hanging over the pit by the horns of the poor goat, Eric came up and chopped Mike’s hand off, allowing Mike to fall into the pit, knocking Mike out. Then by some method or reason, The goat fell in, followed by Eric. It was all kind of confusing, but Mike was dying, Sue had string, and the bad monster asked them if they wanted a job.
The goblins accepted, since they probably didn’t know what a job was, but they knew that they were getting their butts handed to them by this mysterious monster. The monster went back to his fire, and allowed the goblins to work out how to get everyone out of the pit, and back to the fire.
They did notice that the monster was busy talking with someone.
When they approached the monster, he introduced himself as Zachariah, and his friend that he is talking to is Steve. Now only Zachariah seems to be able to see, hear or get a general response from Steve.
The job is pretty simple. Steve, Zachariah and the goblins are going into Grand Junction go break Zachariah’s brother, Josephus out of the pokey. The goblins need to create a diversion so that Zachariah and Steve can get Josephus.
Now Zachariah notes that Mike has died. This may be problematic for some players, having their character die after getting their hand cut off, then falling 10 feet into a pit, but Mike is pretty OK with this. He is about to be rewarded.
Zachariah forces a foul tasting, foul smelling elixir into Mike’s dead lips, and then burns the stump of the left wrist where Mike lost his hand. Mike sputters back to “life”, but in reality, he is harrowed. And as part of coming back from the dead, he is given the cantrip “vicious mockery”, along with being a generally nasty cur. Now, I tell Mike that he doesn’t just get to say “I use my cantrip” he needs to role play it. So he starts telling everyone Yo Momma insults. Now, he needs some practice, because his Yo Momma insults are not very effective at making people take psychic damage, but that is another story.
Zachariah takes even more pity on Mike and outfits him with a wrist strap and a sawed off shotgun. He is given a double bandoleer of shells, and is shown how to fire the gun. He goes to Eric, to show Eric up close and personal how it works, after all, Eric was the one who chopped off Mike’s hand. Luckily for Eric, Mike isn’t a great shot. Mike misses Eric’s head at point blank range, well, almost misses, instead of blowing Eric’s head off, the gun fires, and Van Gough’s Eric’s ear, and leaves scorch marks along the right side of his head.
Now Eric thinks that this hand gun thing is a pretty good idea, so he chops off his right hand, right in front of everyone. The problem is that Eric didn’t talk to Zachariah before chopping off his hand. So Eric lost his hand, then Zachariah explained that he didn’t have the parts to make another gun. Eric has the bright idea of taking Mike’s hand gun, but I point out that Mike’s gun is on Mike’s left hand, and Eric chopped off his own right hand. The gun won’t just transfer over, given the fact that they are on different hands.
That doesn’t mean all is lost. Zachariah has a long conversation with Steve. Now the goblins are starting to think that Zachariah may be slightly off his rocker. I (as the DM and the writer of this blog) am thinking that naming a character Zachariah is a pain in the ass, as this is actually not an easy or quick name to type over and over again. Now if I had named him ghj, or wert, then that would be fast to type, but Zachariah takes both hands, and needs to have some coordination. The real problem is that my son bought a fancy keyboard which has springs in it. This is a “gamer” keyboard. The “A” key sticks. that makes Zachariah, with two “A”‘s in it a pain in the ass to type a bunch of times.
Anyhow, since the main NPC isn’t named wert, he is named Zachariah, I will soldier on.
At least while I write this, I have two sleeping dogs, Rocky and Ferdinand snoozing to my left, and I have Plan 9 From Outer Space on the monitor to the right of where I am typing. This is an awesome movie. Flying saucers, bringing back the dead, Bela Lugosi and his body double, Ed Wood. Fucking awesome stuff.
Did I mention that I love schlock science fiction movies?
Anyhow, I am starting to digress again.
Zachariah gives the goblins two boxes. One box is yellow, full of sweating dynamite, the other is a red box, with non-sweating dynamite. He cautions the goblins to be careful with the dynamite, and shows them how to insert a fuse, and light it with a match.
Zachariah also shows the goblins how to take several sticks of dynamite, and pack it in a small barrel with a lot of rocks to create a big boom that hurts lots of people.
The goblins are very impressed with the dynamite. This is pretty cool stuff. They like the boom. Somehow, they are able to contain themselves, and not chase after the dynamite when it is thrown. I had visions of the dog chasing after the dynamite and returning it back to the cowboys. Only, I figured it would be Collin returning with the lit dynamite.
So that party rests for a while, and at sunup, they travel to Grand Junction.
Now the plot is pretty loose. Zachariah tells them that they need to scope out the place, and make sure that the marshals haven’t taken Josephus yet.
The goblins follow some random path, and miraculously make it to Grand Junction. Now Grand Junction is neither grand, nor is it a junction. In fact, Grand Junction appears to be a placeholder for a future town, where all there is now is a church, a house of ill repute, a saloon, a flop house, a jail and a gallows.
The goblins go into town, with their two boxes of dynamite, and weapons. There are lots of monsters in town, and Mike figures that he needs to sell some of the toothbrushes he found in the dungeon. Mike didn’t think of them as toothbrushes, instead, he spent time over the last week researching the snake oil salesman pitches from the 1870’s or so, and came up with a sales pitch.
Mike makes his pitch, but has few takers. One person offers to buy one, but has no silver. She tries to trade a piece of paper with Mike for the taint tickler.
Mike doesn’t want this paper stuff, he wants silver. Unfortunately, no one has any silver. Now if it weren’t for Collin, there would have been a good story about a company town, and all sorts of opportunities for union busting, cattle rustling, and that sort of thing. But Collin didn’t want that. He wanted to challenge the dice gods (Collin, this is called “FORESHADOWING” for those who were not so fortunate to see you kill the entire party at the end of the session)
Shari, Eric and Collin get arrested. I still am not sure what happened. But somehow, they got into the jail, and saw Josephus. This is part of the issue with a completely off the rails adventure. After a while, I just get overwhelmed, as I described in a previous post, and I can’t remember who did what, or why. Now the “why” is probably always the same. The answer to “why” is “because”, “It seemed like the thing to do” or maybe even “wow, I had no idea that would happen”.
Things got confusing for a while. I really don’t remember all of what happened, as (1) it was a week ago and (2) things were pretty strange.
Montage, goblins, old west town, taint tickler sales, more goblins, then back to Zachariah.
I think that encompass the main bits and pieces for that montage time.
Zachariah and Steve are very happy that Josephus is still in town. The goblins need to accept that even thought they don’t see or hear Steve, Zachariah’s reactions are positive about what Steve is telling him. It was rather confusing for most, if not all of the players and DM.
Josephus, Steve and the Goblins head back to Grand junction. This is more montage stuff. No one remembers where the yellow bin of dynamite is.
The goblins come back to town, and create the diversion for Zachariah and Steve. Boy did they create a diversion. It started out with Collin going and planting a small barrel with dynamite and rocks right next to the gallows. He lit it, and it took a while to blow up.
Then something happened. And one of the monsters picked up Pissy. Shari sleight of handed a lit dynamite stick into the monster’s pocket, and backed away. The dynamite stick blew up, which in turn plastered Pissy against the wall of the house of ill repute, and spread monster guts all over the building. This got all of the monsters in town very upset. They started coming in and shot their guns at the goblins.
Mike spotted the yellow box of dynamite. This was the box that Mike was using to stand on while pitching the taint ticklers.
The party retreated to the saloon. Desperate measures call for desperate times. No that’s not it. Desperate times call for insane measures. Collin knew what to do. Eric knocked out the window of the saloon, and fired his pistol out the window. Now, when the window starts at 3-ft in the air, and the goblin is only 2-ft 8 inches tall, it was more of the goblin shot the pistol standing on his tippy toes, and tried to shoot at anything in the street.
Collin knew what to do.He saw the yellow box of dynamite, he had a stick of dynamite in his little goblin hand. He had a fuse. He had a match. He had everything he needed to be a big damn hero.
But then, he taunted the dice gods.
There are no specific rules in D&D 5e for dynamite. Ok, we had to improvise. No sweat. I told Collin that he would hit the box of dynamite on a 19 or 20. For every 5 under 20, the dynamite would land 10-ft closer to the party. When it hit, I would roll a d8, and starting with directly away from me (I am the DM after all), I would start counting anti clockwise to see which direction it would bounce.
Now it is important to understand that both anti-clockwise and counter-clockwise are the same, as in the other direction than clockwise. We could also use negative clockwise, or probably a bunch of different terms, but anti-clockwise has always been my favorite version of the “other than clockwise” direction.
So Collin picks up his dice. He gets this maniacal grin on his face. Everyone who has played with Collin knows this grin. It is the grin where he just knows that he is going to land the tail hook on the 3 wire. It is the combination of confidence, experience and a little sadism. Maybe a lot of sadism.
So Collin maniacally grins and says “I am going to roll a 19”. This never ends well. Mike knows all about challenging the dice gods, he has tried, and the dice gods dropped a giant load of shit on him.
The fluorescent light from the overhead lighting glints off Collin’s teeth. It is a magical moment, kind of like on those football movies, where the team is down by 5 points, and the slow motion ball throw happens, the crowd gasps, and the (whatever the fuck a guy in football who catches a ball is called) grabs it with two fingers out of the air, tucks it and scores the winning score. I think it is called a twitchdown, or some bullshit like that. I was never into football, nor any other sport. I couldn’t tell you the difference between hockey and baseball.
Anyhow, it was the final lap of the Monroe demolition derby, and all Collin had to do was bring it home for the team.
And Collin rolls a 2. It wasn’t a 1, but it was a 2. It wasn’t a 19, it was a 2. In fact, Collin could have rolled worse, but not much worse.
The entire table was silent.
Then Collin says “I am going to use my inspiration coin!” and he picks up the d20 and gets ready to roll agian. Now I would like to be able to report that the table all was pulling for Collin, but they are goblins. Collin grins again, but this time with a little less confidence. Shari says something to the effect that he might need to walk home if he screws this up. I really don’t remember what Shari said. She may have said “That’s OK, Honey, we all know that you are trying hard”, but I remember her telling Collin that he was going to have to bring her McDonalds French Fries for a month of Tuesdays if he screws up the roll.
Collin, unperturbed, emphatically states “I am going to roll a 20”
Now I was going to write a bunch of BS from a Hoosiers movie about the ball bouncing off the rim sixty times in slow motion before the ball goes in and the crowd goes wild. Well, I guess I did write some bullshit like that. But Collin rolled the dice, and he did improve on his original score.
The first time he rolled a 2. The second time, he rolled 50% higher, than a 2, he rolled a 3. That meant bad juju. Based on the agreed upon rules, the dynamite dropped not at the yellow box, but 10, 20, 30, wait for it… 40 feet closer to the party, which happened to be just 5-ft away from the tightly grouped party that was all huddled by the saloon door. Then the d8 roll for the bounce was a 5, which dropped the dynamite right at their own feet.
Collin effectively kicked the saloon double doors open, went to throw the dynamite, and it bounced back on top of him from the saloon doors. Then it blew up, killing everyone except one minion, and Brian, who wasn’t playing that day.
Now normally, the players would be upset about being killed.
Not this group, there is no better way for a goblin party to be TPS (Total Party Suicide) than by dynamite thrown by their own member.