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So we had no game on last Thursday.  Most of the normal group went off camping for the long weekend, and two members went extra early to set up camp. They have asked me several times if I wanted to go.  They finally gave up, when they realized that I did not like camping.

You see, I loved camping when I was a kid.  My family went all over the place, and camped.  We had tents, camp stoves, sleeping bags…  We went out to beautiful places and sat in the woods.  It was…. boring.  I couldn’t bring my bicycle (which I loved).  I couldn’t watch TV.  You see, the programs I wanted to watch were on Saturday.  The Saturday afternoon lineup was like this:

  • Noon to 2 PM – monster movie of the week
  • 2 PM – In Search Of, with Leonard Nemoy
  • 3 PM – Twilight Zone
  • 3:30 PM – Twilight Zone
  • 4 PM – Space 1999
  • 5 PM – Star Trek

I mean who wants to go and look at a lake, or a stream, or maybe a few trees, when you have this type of lineup of amazing entertainment?  I could give up the Bugs Bunny / Road Runner show on Saturday morning, but camping got in the way of watching that amazing set of shows.

Now don’t tell me that they were all in reruns, so I could have caught them another time.  Pish Posh.  You just don’t understand.

My parents liked motorcycle camping.  You know, put everything on a motorcycle, not a car or van.  So we were camping minimalists.  My parents also had the amazing ability to select the worst weather to camp in.  I remember lots of rain, and occasional a windstorm.

Flash forward to middle and high school.  My parents graduated to a camper shell mounted on the back of a truck.  That wasn’t so bad.  They got to sleep in a queen sized bed over the truck cabin.  My brother and I traded off sleeping on the floor and on a very short couch that doubled as the eating area.  This was better, sleeping on the floor had problems.  If anyone wanted to go out at night to water the trees, then you were stepped on.  It doesn’t matter how careful the person was, they were always able to step on the person sleeping on the floor.  My parents graduated to driving to hot places for their camping also.  Bleh.  I don’t care for hot places.  The water invariably tastes bad, and there are things like snakes and big spiders.

Also during middle and high school, I was in the boy scouts.  That meant that one weekend a month we had to go camping.  Now boy scout camping has some sort of Norman Rockwell sort of charm to it, or at least it is supposed to.  We would pack everything we needed into a large rucksack, and tromp into the woods.  Eventually, we would find a place to set up camp and sit and look at the trees.  OK, we would learn important things like how to make nettle soup, how to tie knots, what parts of the cedar tree can be eaten (yes, the bark can be eaten).  But ultimately, we younger scouts would wait until the older scouts would become bored, and then the inevitable “throw the kid in the lake” would occur.  Usually, the adults would go off to their own campsite, and do whatever adults do (except for watch the kids).  Then the clique of older scouts, who also happened to be the clique at the high school of the football varsity players and the same clique at the high school of the wrestling varsity players (same people), and they would get drunk off their asses with moonshine, and then hilarity would ensue.

I have a vivid memory of one particular scout bringing out moonshine that his dad made.  You see, they also brought out garbage bags of aluminum cans.  They created a huge bonfire, and melted the aluminum cans down to ingots.   It can be done.  It was one mother freaking hot fire.  So while the older scouts were melting down aluminum, they were getting shitfaced.  Then the fun started.  One newly minted Eagle Scout started explaining his prowess in pleasuring women, in graphic terms.  Now I was 12, and didn’t know anything about sex.  I had seen a woman’s boobs in a movie, and that was about it.  But he had explicit detail, which seemed oddly out of character, as he was probably the dumbest, ugliest, dirtiest (as in dirt) dipshit that I had ever seen.  Now, as an adult, I believe that he got most of his carnal “knowledge” from reading letters to the editor from Hustler magazine, and watching a bad porn video cassette, but when I was 12, it was godly information.  I am pretty sure that if I ever actually tried anything he said to do, I would have been laughed out of the bedroom.

Then another older scout had a real problem.  He was trying to show off his prowess with his penis.  He found a board with a knothole in it, and proceeded to stick his junk through the knothole and then pretended to fuck it… in front of everyone.  This was disturbing to say the least, but in the end, he got a bunch of splinters and slivers in his junk, and he needed to go to the hospital later that week because it got infected.  Life lesson at 12.  When you get drunk on moonshine, you might want to have some really good friends who will stop you from hurting yourself, not egg you on.

Then the scout that brought the moonshine decided to do the circus thing, where he blows liquor into the fire.  He didn’t realize that this was an art.  And the people who spray a mouthful of highly flammable liquid onto a torch are (1) trained, (2) in complete control of themselves, (3) have practice at it (4) the list goes on and on.  They are definitely not drunk spitting moonshine into a fire hot enough to melt aluminum cans into ingots from 3 feet away.

So the scout spits the moonshine into the fire… The fireball envelops him.  He pulls back, and he has a serious sunburn over his entire face, his eyebrows are scorched, the front of his mullet is completely burned.  His eyelashes are gone.  Thankfully, he isn’t on fire.  His clothes are smoldering.  In a perfect Jeff Spiccoli impersonation he says “Awesome!” and goes for some more liquor to spit on the fire.

Then they older scouts decide to play “smear the queer”  I am not sure what that game was supposed to be.  It didn’t involve any dice, pencils, paper, nor any known rules. The rules appeared to be a half dozen drunken 17 and 18 year old men exposing themselves randomly to the younger scouts, followed by them trying to catch the younger scouts and pretending to dry hump them.  Evidently, this also involved lots of rebel yells, hooting and hollering.

And things went down hill from there.

So after my first campout, my parents asked me how it went.  I looked at my dad, confused, not sure what I should say, and said “Dad, I don’t want to stay in the Boy Scouts”.  His response was perfect Dadish.  He says “What?  You need to stay in the Boy Scouts!” and then he went on about all of the leadership potential, the opportunities, just like the brochure said.

Now in all fairness to my mom and dad, I was not a motivated kid in school.  I didn’t care.  I scared the hell out of my parents.  My life goal was to be a bicycle mechanic.  Literally,  I wanted to be a bicycle mechanic. Not own a bike store.  I just wanted to work on bicycles.  I had potential, but I didn’t care.  They were desperate for any way to get me to realize my potential, not to be a bicycle mechanic.  So they insisted in me continuing in scouts.

I didn’t know how to explain to my dad that my desire to leave the scouts had nothing to do with not being an achiever, rather, it had to do with being shocked and scared by the lord of the flies experience that I had endured that weekend.  I couldn’t tell him what I had seen.  As an adult, looking back, I am sure that if I had told my dad, he would have taken my story up with the adults who were there, and found a way to change the situation.  He is a good and moral man.  He would never stand for that type of thing.  That being said, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him what I had seen.  So I asked him to come with me on the next campout.  He declined, saying he had other things to do, after all, this was an experience for me to have.

Now in all fairness to the scouts, being in the boy scouts did help me define who I wanted to be.  I saw the ridiculous antics of the older scouts, and decided right then and there, that I was not going to be like that.  Their behavior offended me at a very basic level.  I was not one of the in-crowd in the troop.  I didn’t agree with their antics, and didn’t like them.  That made me an outcast.  As time went on, the antics of the 17 and 18 year olds transferred on to the next group of 17 year olds, as some of the older scouts kept on after they turned 18 and the traditions continued.

I was not a conformer.  I still am not.  I didn’t like the type of behavior that was on full drunken display that weekend.  It offended me.  I am a big guy.  I was a big kid.  I have presence.  So I started shepherding kids away from the stupid behavior that was at the weekend campouts.

This created problems for me to earn my Eagle Scout badge.  First, in order to become an Eagle Scout, you need to have a “leadership” position for a year. This could be assistant scoutmaster, patrol leader, etc.  Because I didn’t play ball, and I had a group of kids that I kept away from the debauchery, I was persona non gratta.  That meant that none of the older scouts would let me into a leadership position.  So the scoutmaster had to create a leadership position for me, which was… wait for it… “Troop Scribe”.  Whoop defucking doo.

I found the entire thing ridiculous.  I had to take a spiral bound notebook and write down what happened at each troop meeting.  This was not “leadership”, this was what happens when kids are in control, and there is no leadership from the adults who are supposed to be in charge.

Another thing that is required is that prospective eagle scouts are supposed to have a project that is supposed to show their leadership, and give something back to the community.  I selected a project to plant 5,000 evergreen sapling trees around Judy Reservoir, near my hometown.  You see, the hillsides around the reservoir had deciduous trees.  The local PUD cut down the deciduous trees, because the leaves would fall off the trees in the fall, and they would go into the reservoir and the drinking water would be stained.  It was a real problem with clean drinking water.  The PUD cut down the trees with leaves, and needed someone to plant trees without leaves.  That was my Eagle Scout project.  Because I wasn’t one of the “crew”, I got no support from the other older scouts, even though I had helped on their Eagle Scout project.  It ended up that I spent a weekend with some good gaming friends in high school and the other scout outcasts, and we planted the trees.

Am I bitter?  No.  I just don’t value the scouting experience the way that other people do.  My experience was a lesson in perseverance.  It involved me learning that I can continue doing the right thing, even if the management around me is not aligned with what I think are the proper things to d.

Later, as an adult, I ran into the parents of some of the kids that I took under my wing, and the parents thanked me for what I did for their kids.  I stood up to the bullyish behavior of the older kids, and stopped the “Smear the Queer” games.  They went to “Snipe Hunt” instead, which wasn’t much different…

I am sure that the scout troop I was in was an anomaly.  It was not normal.  However, I spent a lot of time in my adulthood, not mentioning the fact that I was an Eagle Scout because I was embarrassed about being a member of a society that openly discriminated against gay people.

The Scout’s Oath was:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

What defines “morally straight”?  Who defines it.

I am not gay.  When I was in high school, I don’t think that I ever met anyone who was openly gay.  Being “gay” was an insult.  If anyone was gay, they kept it buried, deep in side themselves.  I lived in a small town, it was the 1980’s.  The concept of Boy George and his ambiguous sexuality was new, and simultaneously scary and intriguing.

When I went to college, I met openly gay people.  The trite thing to say would be “All I knew about gay people was what the simple minded folk in the small town I grew up in talked about”.  But that isn’t true.  We weren’t simple minded folk.  I just don’t remember it coming up.  OK, when I saw “Deathtrap” in the College Place Triplex theater in 1982, and Christopher Reeve kissed Michael Caine, someone yelled out “Superman is a Fag!” in the theater.

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As I said, I am sure that there were gay people in my hometown, but I never observed anything that gave me any hints.  Of course, I was young, and probably wouldn’t have understood it even if I saw it at 14 or 17 years old.  When I got to college, I found people who weren’t like me.  There was a huge variety of people.  I met the first openly gay people, and guess what, they were interesting and I liked being around them as much as I liked being around other people.

But getting back to the Scout’s Oath.  Who defines what morally straight is?  Does a 17 year old scout (who was an eagle scout) fucking a knothole in a board in full view of 15 other scouts constitute morally straight?  How about older scouts exposing themselves to the younger scouts, and chasing them around then pretending to dry hump them?

You would ask “Where were the adults?”  Well, several of the older kids who were part of the clique had parents who were the adults.  Many of them were former Eagle Scouts.  They had a “Boys will be boys” attitude.

So what does any of this have to do with gaming.  Nothing really.  I started talking about camping, and then soon enough, it became blather about other things, like why I dislike camping.  Now, I didn’t get into my experiences in the Army with camping…  But that is for another rant.

So I spent Thursday night home, instead of gaming.  This was followed by a long weekend.  I pulled out the rule books for a game that I have called “Splinter”.  I will probably never play Splinter.  It is a pretty awesome game concept, along the lines of Palladium Rifts.

From the End Transmission Games website:

The infinite megadungeon-cum-arena of the Splinter has no rhyme nor reason – characters exploring the Splinter are just as likely to come upon a Medieval sword, a fantastical clockwork raygun, or a fully automatic shotgun. The Splinter itself is a puzzle, constantly shifting, sometimes before the characters’ very eyes.

OK, it isn’t Rifts.  Nothing is Rifts, except Rifts.  but the idea that anything goes is a pretty cool idea.  The game system is too twitchy for me, but the ideas in the games are really cool.

For example, from the random treasures book, there is Mr. Wubbles.

Mr. Wubbles

One-Use. Thrown “weapon.” Any sentient being within 10 yards of the creature must succeed a Conviction (ST4) Test or stand still and take no actions. Hypnotized characters who take any kind of damage receive another Conviction (ST1) Test to recover from the effect. Characters who fail their saves if not damaged or somehow pulled away will just stare in awe at the wonderful little critter for a week or so until it drops dead.

OK, the stats don’t make much sense unless you know the game system.  But imagine how you could twist this into something good for the game system you are in.  For instance, the party finds this critter in a cage in a magic shop.  The wizard figures out that he can buy it, and float it around using Mage Hand or some such thing, to cause a distraction while the party gets ready to fight, or possibly to occupy the bad guys until they can move around them…

The book “Sometimes Ugly Things” which is kind of a monster manual has a lot of really cool things, like these:

Feral Moss can grow anywhere and, if you don’t burn it off the walls, it grows everywhere. If you don’t get too close to it, it might leave you well enough alone. But get it on your skin… well, there the problems start. It begins by latching on to you, then it begins to suck your blood, drawing it up from your veins and through your pores. That hurts. But, unless you get rid of it soon, Feral Moss is just going to carry on growing. And it is going to do so quickly. As the Moss grows, it draws blood from its host faster and faster and in ever greater quantities, spreading across every inch of flesh until the entire surface of the victim’s body is the colour of tarnished bronze. Once the body of their host is spent, the Feral Moss breaks away, gradually, from the wasted skin and chalky, flaking bone. It scatters itself as widely as possible, clinging on to any suitable surface where it waits, dormant, for the next unsuspecting amateur botanist to give it a new home.

and the Byrozoan Mongrel

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who has the following description:

The Byrozoan Mongrel looks utterly horrifying, but really, it’s just an animal. Created by some master creator – perhaps a Silver Sculptor, perhaps not – the Byrozoan Mongrel behaves much like a stray dog. Unlike a dog, however, its muzzle opens into numerous thrashing tentacles, though its body looks like some kind of brown, spotted mutt. It will attack if it feels threatened, but with a successful Animal Handling Test, the Byrozoan Mongrel becomes quite friendly and docile. If a PC spends a long enough time winning its trust, the Byrozoan Mongrel can even be a valuable and loyal companion both in and out of combat. That tentacle mouth might take some getting used to, though.

For some reason, I feel like Mike needs a pet Byrozoan Mongrel…

Then there is whatever the heck this thing is…

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Long story short, I have lots of books that are sitting around solely as inspiration for other games.  I doubt that I will be playing Splinter, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t take ideas from this game and drop it into whatever game I am playing.

I love the ideas in Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  It is an OSR clone that is very clean and simple, but vicious to play.  The game doesn’t have the depth of character development that many players want.  It focuses on the obscure,obscene and horrific dungeon crawl.  But the ideas are amazing.  Take the following for instance, from their Free RPG Day game Slugs, from last year

The Doctor Slug:

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The stats are amazingly awesome!

The creature’s touch heals any and all injury instantly, but not cosmetically. All hit point and other “rules terminology” damage is recovered, but the appearance of the character before injury becomes the new norm. A character with a compound fracture will heal, but the bone will not reset and the formerly “broken” bone is now the new non-painful skin-penetrating norm, for instance. Cuts, gouges, and other such injuries become set in place and do not mend (although bleeding does stop), bruised areas will remain forever black and blue, and crushed anatomy remains flattened. A sufficiently injured person healed by the Doctor Slüg will resemble the undead with all the unmended, yet healed, catastrophic failure of anatomy.

All within 100’ of the Slüg not suffering from a disease must make a saving throw or contract a random disease (mechanical effects assume a player character patient):

  1. Alzheimer’s: When left alone the character must make a saving throw. Failing this save means the character will simply not do whatever it is she was supposed to do (50%) or wander off in a random direction, believing she is on some long-ago adventure.
  2. Congenital Analgesia: The patient can feel no pain whatsoever. Hit points are kept track of secretly by the Referee, and the amount of any damage taken (or healed!) by the character is never specified.
  3. Diabetes: The character’s diet must be carefully controlled; rations cost three times normal, and any day the character does not have access to these special rations, she must make a saving throw or suffer 1d4 damage.
  4. Epilepsy: Once per session during a stressful situation, the Referee can call for a saving throw; failing means the character suffers a seizure lasting 1d6 rounds and inflicting 1d4 damage.  Seizures may also happen whenever the character sees a magical effect with a visual manifestation of magical energy.
  5. Osteoporosis: All crushing or impact damage uses an additional damage die (so a mace hit would do 2d8 instead of 1d8 damage, a 20’ fall would do 3d6 instead of 2d6 damage). A character encumbered at all is considered encumbered one extra category.
  6. Proteus Syndrome: The character’s body distorts and explodes in strange growths which alter the fundamental profile and proportions of the body. The character will be considered hideous, have her movement rate cut by half, and be unable to wear standard clothing or armor. 50% chance per hand that the hand is useless for grasping.

These diseases (or damage caused by their effects) can only be cured by the Slüg at one specified future time (typically 1d1000+24 hours), which will be understood by the patient. The afflicted must leave the Slüg’s presence and return to the Slüg at the appointed time, within the allotted hour. Arrive early or late, and there will be no healing, and another appointment must be made. Arriving too early or late (over a week in either direction) results in no curing and no further appointment being allowed! Of course the Slüg keeps no regular abode and constantly travels; finding the Slüg for one’s appointment is the problem of the patient.

So, once again, you ask… What does all of this have to do with the game last Saturday?  Nothing.

Saturday started out as it should.  Nice weather, dogs in the back yard.  A good book to read… OK, it wasn’t that good of a book.  It was the novelization of the Van Helsing movie.  The movie is camp.  The book was…  well, it has as many letters as “camp”, three are in common, the c, a and p, but there is another letter in there instead of the m and a few of the letters are rearranged.  Needless to say, the book was nowhere near as fun as the movie.  I should have known, going into it, the movie was pretty limited in its story, but it was fun.  The book, not so much.

But at least there was coffee.  Tasty, coffee.  MMMMMMMMMMM coffee.

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After spending the morning with dogs, coffee, and finishing the Van Helsing book, I went to Dice Age to play D&D.  Mike had a birthday earlier that week.  I won’t say how old Mike is, nor what his birthdate is.  I know both, but I don’t want to give out personal information on the web.

As a joke, I thought it would be fun to give Mike a gift.  A gag gift.  I went to Safeway and got Mike a bran muffin, a bag of prunes, and a six pack of prune juice.  I thought it would be funny.  Everyone but Mike thought it was funny.  It turns out, he loves bran muffins, prunes and prune juice.

Mike decided that Collin’s character needed some fun.  He found the postcard of the fetching, lovely ladies and wrote a special message on the back.  He asked me to find an opportune time during the game play to have it come in magically and be delivered to Collin’s character.

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The message was highly personal, and even though it probably isn’t good for normal consumption, here it is.

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It took a while, but we got Collin to read the message.

So after all this blather, what happened on Saturday?

The party ended the previous week with six tied up goblins.  They decided that they would use them as trap finders.  The monk was lawful good, and would not appreciate the party killing them off needlessly.

The goblins were not too happy about their new status.  They had their bows taken away.  The six goblins were named, and given responsibilities.  They were:

  • Amok – the leader (he had the 7 silver pieces)
  • Bedlam – the HR specialist
  • Gibberish – the IT / web developer
  • Havoc – the chief of production
  • Mayhem – intern / trainee / gopher
  • Racket – communications

So the party decided that they were going to use the goblins as they saw fit.  The problem was that the DM wanted to use the goblins as he saw fit also.  The DM decided that the goblins would essentially be played as genies, but completely useless.  The goblins would do exactly what the humans said, to the letter.  Any colloquialisms would be taken literally.  As in literally.  That caused some issues for the party.

Long story short, Mayhem was pissed.  He had been the flunky in the goblin world, and he was tired of being the flunky.  He was really pissed about being put back into the role of needing to apply for the job he always had.  He wanted to be a full party member.  So the party moved him up to full party status.

There was lots of doublespeak by the party members to the goblins…  Things like:

  • We want to help you redefine the very nature of what’s possible
  • You can bring about positive, permanent shifts in the quality of your life.
  • We can offer you a practical methodology for producing breakthroughs—achievements that are extraordinary, outside of what’s predictable
  • We can help you find a way of learning that gives people an awareness of the basic structures in which they know, think, and act
  • With our help, you will develop awareness comes a fundamental shift that leaves people more fully in accord with their own possibilities and those of others
  • We can help you find a way to be able to think and act beyond existing views and limits—in their personal and professional lives, relationships, and wider communities of interest

The party offered this opportunity to the goblins for a deposit of only 200 gold pieces, and a full payment of 695 gold pieces.

The training will take place over three consecutive days and an evening session (generally Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday evening). Each full day begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at approximately 10:00 p.m. Breaks are approximately every 2-3 hours, with a 90-minute dinner break. The evening session generally runs from 7:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. (in certain locations, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.).

Training topics include:

The Vicious Circle:

In the Vicious Circle segment, we suggest that it is a monster tendency to collapse what happened; with the story you tell about what happened. This collapsing happens so fast it becomes hard to separate the two, and you think of them as one and the same. Almost immediately, and certainly over time, the story we tell ourselves becomes the way it is—the reality we know. It limits what is possible in our lives, robbing us of much of our joy and effectiveness.

When you are able to separate what happened from our story or interpretation, we discover that much of what we considered already determined, given and fixed, may in fact not be that way. Situations that may have been challenging or difficult become fluid and open to change. We find ourselves no longer limited by a finite set of options, and able to achieve what we want with new ease and enjoyment.

Rackets – The Payoff and the Cost

In the Rackets segment, we discuss the idea of a racket as an unproductive way of being or acting that includes a complaint that something shouldn’t be the way it is. Often, you don’t notice that while our complaints may seem justified, even legitimate, there is a certain payoff—some advantage or benefit we are receiving that reinforces the cycle of behavior. At the same time, this way of being has steep costs, whether in our vitality, affinity, self-expression, or sense of fulfillment.

By recognizing this pattern, its costs, and how we have been keeping the pattern in place, you have the choice to interrupt the cycle and discover new ways of interacting that lead to new levels of happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment in areas that are most important to us.

Freedom from Anxiety

Consider that one of the primary obstacles to effectiveness is fear. No matter how accomplished, successful, or courageous you are, fear and anxiety seem to play a role at some point in all of our lives. Often, you allow our fears and anxieties to stop you – to determine how much you’ll risk, and to limit the range in which you live – assigning them an unwarranted power and magnitude in your life.

When you see that your relationship to our anxieties and fears inadvertently gives them a life of its own, something else becomes possible. You find yourself being powerful in the face of what has stopped us before, and are free to rediscover and pursue your passions in life.

The Nature of Choice

The power to choose is uniquely monster. You have a high interest in shaping the course of your life – making the right choices and pursuing what is important to you. One commonly held view regards choice as merely reacting to, or selecting among, the existing options. Here we take another view.

In this section, we explore choice as a profoundly monster ability to create. When choice is understood and known in this way, what had previously seemed simply part of “the way things are” – inevitable or impervious to change – appears in a new light. You will find yourself able to choose – to have a say – about who you are and who you will be, as the author of your life in any and all situations.

Now the problem with all of this is that the goblins have no idea of what all of this means.  Their idea of self actualization, choice, freedom from anxiety and so forth is meaningless to the goblins.  So are the astronomical costs that the party wants to charge for the personal training.

So the goblins decide to come along.  Because, so far, nobody has tried to kill them.  They can continue to be minions, except for Mayhem who is happily a full party member who has been promised a full share.  Whatever that means.

Now Mayhem is a manager in the making.  He figures out right away that since he has been promoted to management, he doesn’t need to do any work.  He bosses the other goblins around to do his will, instead of doing the work himself.

The monk gets tired of all of the jibber jabber, and decides to ask the goblins what is on the other side of the door on the north side of the room.  The goblin apes at him.  See, the monk speaks draconic, not goblin.  The goblins mimic the funny sounds coming out of the monk’s pie hole.  It is kind of petty, but then they are goblins, and they haven’t been to the trademarked Watermark Ebberon Wide training yet.  This means that the goblins don’t understand that when they make “blah mwuah skitr eoyrmr” sounds back at the monk, they are actually developing the vicious circle, which causes undue stress for the monk, making him question his choice to remain lawful neutral.

So the monk pantomimes to the goblins opening the door – to which the goblins pantomime the monk doing questionable things to door knobs, and finally, the warlock asks the goblins what is on the other side of the door.  The goblins reply “a hallway”  The monk checks for traps on the door.  Finding none, he opens the door, and orders the goblin trapfinders through.  The warlock tells the trapfinders to go out into the hallway.  The goblins each step into the door, and then leap onto the other side of the hallway.  They turn around and look at the monk.  The monk wants to know what they are doing.  The goblins proceed to make flying motions with their arms and hands, while standing on the other side of the hall.  They are being very careful to stick to the wall, never standing in the middle of the hallway.  The monk says “Ah”, and realizes that there must be a trap here.  So he jumps across the hallway width, to which all of the goblins laugh uproariously at the poor monk, who didn’t realize that the goblins were messing with him.  They continue to hang on the very edges of the hallway, and the monk starts tromping around the middle of the hallway, evidently unimpressed with the goblin’s prank.

Truth be told, I think the monk was getting tired of the goblins, and was regretting not killing them in combat.  Mayhem appears to be the only serious goblin now.  I think he realized that his new position in the party meant that he couldn’t be friends anymore with his old goblin buddies, since he might have to discipline them, or possibly slit their throats as they slept.  As I said, Mayhem knows a lot about management, and he is working hard to live up to the general principals of management.

The goblins open up the door on the north side of the hall.  It is a long hallway, and this is on the long side of the hall.  There is another door on the far end of the hallway.  Inside the room are several cots, rotting meat, a firepit and all of the rest of the things that the goblins would need to survive in goblin comfort.  The goblins indicate that this is home. Several party members attempt to search for loot.  Unfortunately for them, there is no loot here.  The goblins have bits of string, a few rat skeletons, some rancid jerky, some stained blankets, flea infested bedding, and best of all, some wine skins with vinegary wine.

The monk goes down the hall, and ignores the goblins who are still pantomiming hanging near the edges of the hallway.  Luckily for the monk, he rolled well on his perception roll, and noticed a pit trap in the middle of the floor near the door at the far end of the hallway.  It seems that the goblins are not completely useless, but rather their intel may need some verification.

On the other side of the door is a dragon wyrmling.  A white dragon wyrmling.  Now I looked online for a scan of the wyrmiling in the adventure.  I didn’t find any, but I did find some owlbear pictures.  I like owlbears.  I often thought that if I was going to have a rock band, I would name it “Crispy Owlbear”  Owlbears are not understood by non gamers.

dca32owlbear

There is something about owlbears that just screams at me.  I can’t explain it.  I was hoping that at some point 5E would have a book that would allow for owlbear PC’s.

But that is for another blog post.  I may need to work up a Player Class for owlbears… what would be the proper classes… bard?  monk?  maybe a druid?  I don’t know offhand.

But where was I?  Oh yeah, white dragon wyrmiling.

The monk wants to know what is on the other side of the door.  He doesn’t bother asking the goblins, because his tired of their shit.  They are not particularly useful, as their information is technically accurate, but not particularly useful.  So the barbarian, the monk and the warlock all end up in the room.  Then the white dragon wyrmling pops out and frosts them.  The characters all failed their perception rolls, but they did notice the frost breath weapon that hit them.  The barbarian and warlock went down.  The cleric ask Meepo how to get the dragon to calm down.  Meepo responds “pet it on its nose”.  The monk runs away.  The party asks for more information about how to pet the dragon on its nose, and Meepo pantomimes hitting it on its snout.  Like really hard.

The party goes in and takes more damage, but knocks the dragon wyrmling out, and then tries to figure out what to do.  They tie up the dragon, so it can’t attack, and they tie up the dragon’s mouth.

When the dragon wakes up, they start asking it questions in draconic.  The problem is that the dragon has its mouth tied shut.  The party weighs in on whether or not to  loosen the mouth straps so the dragon can talk, but the monk points out that if it can talk, it can use its breath weapon.

In a fit of clarity, the party decides that the monk is onto something, and the mouth should not be untied.  The dragon simply responds with stink eye looks at the party and a lot of “mumph” and “mrrrrmmff” sounds.

The party has the great idea of taking the dragon to the kobold king.  That should help with whatever the party is trying to do.  I guess?  I don’t know.  Some of the party members are taking notes, but I think that the sheet of notes has been lost several times so far in this adventure, and they are having a problem rectifying the storyline.  They seem to be thinking “Yes, we will kill shit until we figure this out”.  But then that is what happens in most D&D games that I am involved in.  “We are supposed to save the princess – But wait… there is shit to kill”

As the party continues to discuss what to do with the dragon, they are approached by three more goblins who have heard about the amazing opportunities that the party has for smelt accusations, or maybe it is shelf visualizations.  Something always gets lost in the translation to goblin.

The party decides that they don’t want an army of goblins, since six are unmanageable, imagine what 9 or 200 would be like.  They decide to take the eight goblins who are not party members and put them in a room, and allow them to decide what two goblins should be allowed to join the party.

Eight goblins go in.  One came out.  This goblin is bigger than the rest.  He is tough.  He ripped the other seven goblins to shreds.  Now the party is initially concerned, since they told the goblins that they wanted two goblins to add to the party.

The goblin who came out of the room was told that they wanted two goblins.  He points at Mayhem and says “One”, and points at himself and says “Two”.  The party then says, “no, we wanted two new goblins in the party”, to which the goblin with no name raises up one fist and says “One”, then the second fist and says “Two”.

The party decides that they can’t argue with this type of logic.  The goblin with no name appears to be tougher, meaner and nastier than the other goblins they have met so far.

The party then backtracks, and goes into another room.  This room is 20-ft wide and 80-ft long.  It has sputtering torches along the hall’s walls, and  there are eight columns of carved stone that are carved to look like long skinny dragons climbing the columns.

The monk searches the room, finding nothing, he asks what is on the other side of the door.  I tell him that he needs to open it if he wants to know.

So the monk checks for traps, opens the door, and sees 40 or so goblins on the other side of the door.  The monk carefully closes the door, and tells the rest of the party.

Non Name and Mayhem open the door while this is going on, and proceed to go and kill all of the goblin warriors in the room.  Most of the goblins in the room are infirm, elderly or children.  The party enters, and No Name pantomimes that it is the Monk’s duty to go and kill the monster in the next room.

The party figures out that the goblin king is in the next room, and No Name and Mayhem have decided that the monk is going to be the next goblin king, assuming he can kill the current goblin king.

Taking a deep breath, the monk opens the door to the goblin king’s roost.  He finds a hobgoblin with partial plate armor and a really big sword.  Beside him is another hobgoblin with bones twisted in her hair.  The party decides that she is a goblin witch.

Now, I won’t go into a great amount of detail about this combat.  It was pretty sad and hopeless.  It should have been epic.  IT wasn’t.  It was really sad.

The monk and the barbarian massacred the two hobgoblins.  There was no BS about overpowered characters.  No whining about undue advantage of multiple strikes from characters.  None of that.

I rolled really crappily.  In four rounds of combat, the monk, warlock and barbarian rolled well.  Not spectacularly, but well.  They consistently did pretty good amounts of damage.

I rolled piss poor on every attack roll for the two monsters.  The monsters swished.  The monsters missed,  The monstres pissed.  It was bad.  The monsters did not get to use the skills that they learned in the trademark patented Watermark Ebberon Wide training

In the end, the monk is now the goblin king.  We will see what he does with that…

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