We all met for another rousing session of D&D on Saturday. All of the players arrived at the game store at almost the exact time. We actually all drove into the parking lot simultaneously. Well, one right after another. Simultaneously would mean that we all occupied the same place at the same time. Thankfully, for our insurance rates, that did not happen.
I brought in some friends. This included Scrotus, the owlbear. I also brought in some puppets that included a hairy tarantula and a mouse. For some reason, none of the pictures I took during the session included the tarantula puppet, but here is a shot from the Interwebs.
He is a cute little guy. Shari seemed to like playing with him a lot. I guess the tarantula could be a her, not a him. I don’t know much about spiders, and tarantulas are really big spiders.
So you might ask, why would I have a tarantula and a mouse puppet? I don’t really have a good answer for that. About 10 years ago, my brother and I went to Arizona to provide moral support for my mom and dad. My mom had a brain tumor, and it was a very tricky operation. My mom and dad have really good healthcare. The tumor surrounded the carotid artery in the brain. This was a very risky procedure, and my parents wanted to use a good doctor, not just anyone.
It turns out that the best doctor in the world for this type of operation lived in Phoenix AZ, and they had the best facility in the world for this type of operation. Now, when I say the best doctor in the world, this guy had done a total of 10 of these operations, when the second best doctor in the world had done 2 or 3. This was pretty rare stuff. My parents, having really good health care decided that they would go with the guy with the most experience, not the number two guy. They made several trips from central Oregon, where they lived to Phoenix, and got all of the paperwork lined up. Then they went to Phoenix for just over three months. The three months was for the week before the operation, and then three months after, where my mom could be seen regularly by the specialty clinic. My brother and I flew down a couple of days before the operation, and hung around for emotional support for my parents for the week after the operation.
The way that the doctors found the tumor in the first place is an odd story. My mom had no idea that she had a tumor. No family history, nothing. She was at the doctor’s office near her home, and when her normal doctor’s appointment was finishing up, she got up off the funny bed thing that you sit on in the examination room, and slipped and fell onto the floor, clunking her head on something hard. The doctors were really worried, what if that caused some sort of damage? Oh the potential risk to their insurance rates! So they rushed her off and got a cat scan of her head, to make sure nothing bad happened due to the fall. And during the cat scan, they saw a growth in her brain that shouldn’t be there. That led to a longer set of tests, consultations, and other doctory stuff, which ended up with my mom being operated on by the best doctor in the world to remove a tumor from the brain, where the tumor is surrounding the carotid artery.
Phoenix is a pretty neat place. Well, Phoenix can be a neat place. It can also be stupidly hot. As I write this blog, two of my coworkers are at an IMSA conference in Phoenix, and it is record breaking temperatures.
Luckily, we were in Phoenix in March, and it was only high 80’s during the day. It sometimes got to over 90 during the week my brother and I were there.
But about five years ago, I also went to Phoenix to go to a national IMSA conference. It was in early July, and the monsoons came through. So it was 105 plus and 95% humidity. I honestly don’t know how, or why people live there. It is hot. Too damn hot.
Anyhow, back to the story about the tarantula and mouse puppets. During my mother’s operation, my brother and I sat with my dad. It was a long day. It was heartbreaking watching my mom go off in a bed to a very complicated operation where her chances of living through it were not great. This was serious stuff. So during the operation, my brother and I sat with my dad, and kept him company. My mom made a full recovery, so it was mostly stress related to waiting to hear. They have been married now for over 50 years. They had good times, and times which were challenging for them, but they truly love each other very much. My dad, who is normally a stoic man who doesn’t show a lot of emotion (He is a man who was born in the mid 1940’s, from German descent… of course he doesn’t show a lot of emotion 🙂 ) But he was truly worried about the outcome of this invasive operation.
So my brother and I did our best to keep him company. When she made it through, and he had to wait for her to come out of the anesthesia, we talked, sat quietly, and took clues from my dad as to whether we should talk or sit quietly some more. I went to get sodas and sandwiches for them. Either my brother or I were always with him during the operation.
Long story short, when she came out of the operation, and the anesthesia wore off, we were there. She had problems with the anesthesia, but when she came to, she wanted to see all three of us, then she wanted a diet Doctor Pepper. She loves diet Doctor Pepper. In prep for the surgery, they wanted her to not drink anything with caffeine for several weeks prior to the surgery. So the first Dr. Pepper resulted in her sipping the soda, and saying “oh that is good!”.
So you, dear reader are asking what this has to do with puppets? Not much. My dad wanted to spend time with my mom, and my brother and I realized that we needed to give them some time, so he and I took a road trip the day after the operation to go see some of the sites, such as the Sonora Desert Zoo, and Tuscon. While we were at the zoo, I found the puppets. I had to have them. They sometimes come out when necessary.
Anyhow, my brother and I took my dad on several road trips during the week we were there with him. We took him to the fire engine museum, and the rock museum. Most of the time, we were simply giving him something to be occupied with, while my mom recuperated from the operation.
So what does this have to do with D&D? Not much, just the back story on the puppets.
So Eric came back and played today. They recovered from the fire snake from last week, and continued on. Eric was brought up to speed on what had happened in his absence. As the party continued on in the dungeon, they came across a large room that was full of glowing fungus. In this room was a female bugbear, tending the garden.
Now, the party decided not to immediately attack, well kind of. Someone at the table decided that the mouse puppet would make a good female bugbear.
Here is a more accurate picture of a female bugbear. This is important for later.
The party moves into the room, looking for treasure. There are several doors leading out of the chamber. The bugbear is pretty interested in the party, but isn’t fighting, yet. Now, Mike, with his cleric has a good idea, so he thinks. He decides to try to make friends with the female bugbear.
Sue’s rogue decides to go and check out the door on the north wall of the room. There is something rather slick and gooey on the handle. While investigating it, an ochre jelly drops down on her, causing acid and bludgeon damage.
Bill’s sorcerer hits the ochre jelly with a ray of frost. It retreats into a crack over the door.
Eric on the other hand, opens the door and attacks the female bugbear in the other room. Well, he tries to. As he moves through the doorway, the ochre jelly slips through the crack, and drops on the gnome-dwarf and starts searing his chainmail armor. The gnome-dwarf sheds his chainmail, and then is attacked by the female bugbear in the other room (shown schematically with Scrotus in the picture below.
Now, I am not sure that I can adequately explain what happens next. The female bugbear wants some Barry White style loving from the cleric.
The bugbears decide to take the cleric for all he is worth. Satisfaction Guaranteed! In the photo below, Bugbear 1, is shown with the mouse puppet. Bugbear 2 is the d20. Yes, it is the dream of all clerics to have a relationship with bugbears. Maybe it is just the dream of this particular cleric?
The bugbears decide to take the cleric for all he is worth. Meanwhile the rest of the party starts opening doors. Behind the southern door, they find three goblins tending the crops. Behind the eastern door, they find another fire snake. The battle is furious, people are attacked by the fire snake.
During the fight, the party tries to run away from the fire snake, then they engage it, and continue to fight, until the fire snake is vanquished.
After the fire snake is vanquished, killed even, the party takes a short rest, 4 hours. It isn’t much of a restful rest, since they are listening to the goings on of the cleric and the two bugbears. The whimpers, screams, moans and other odd noises coming from the next room make for a rather unrestful rest, but it was a short rest.
The party continues on, and finds a few rooms left. They go to one room that forms a T, and the party goes to the left at the T. The party continues through the labyrinth of the jungle until they come to a door. Now the rogue is worried. Eric’s gnome-dwarf is looking for any sort of armor. He doesn’t like the fact that his armor is missing.
They enter a room, and find that there is a large marble statue of a dragon. The eye sockets are glowing. The room is rather dark. They investigate the room, and are attacked by a shadow. It hurts a lot. The shadow takes strength from the party member when it hits. They almost defeat the shadow but it runs away.
The rogue may or may not have found special treasure which she may or may not have shared some or all with the rest of the party.
The next room they investigate is a ruined library. They do find a valuable book and several spell scrolls.
They continue on, and go back to the T room, and go the other way (the way they have not gone yet) They continue on down the halls, and come to a room. In the room are more ruined bookshelves full of herbs and spices, and a table in the middle with a book. The book is pretty. Really pretty. The sorcerer opens it up, and sees the beautiful endpapers of a beautiful book. He then turns the page to the first page, and a powerful glyph trap explodes, dealing massive damage to the party. The trap knocks several characters to 0 hitpoints. Stabilization occurs. The party realizes that they need a long rest at this point. I give it to them, along with allowing them to go to the 3rd level. After all, all that is left is the boss monster fight. They will need to be fully up to speed on hitpoints, spells, and everything else.
So they have a long rest, and the party members figure out how they are going to get to the 3rd level. More hitpoints, more boons, and so forth.
At the end of the long rest, I draw out the final battle. I take time to draw out the bushes, the edges of the chamber, the large tree at the end of the chamber, the bad guys, the good guys who were tainted by the bad guys… you know, boss battle time.
I even took the time to read all of the bad guy characters, and plan out how the spells from the druid and magic user would be used against the party.
You see, Collin is playing a bard. Bards are weird characters. Collin has persuasion up the ass. Well, maybe not up the ass, but he has a +7 in persuasion as a 3rd level character. Up to now, we have only joked about Collin playing his flute. We tease him about Zamfir. We joke about his battle songs on the flute… you know, typical players trying to shame the person playing the bard, to shame the player to play a real class, I mean if you want to be a quirky useless character, why not be an illusionist after all.
But Collin wants to be a fucking bard. Great. What the fuck does a bard do? Well, the fucking bard manages to fucking fuck up everything for the fucking boss fucking fight. Fuck.
Actually, it isn’t that bad.
The bard parlays with the bad guys. He decides that he will trade the monk (to be a supplicant for the bad guy’s army) for the signet ring from the other royal.
After all, the victory condition for this module is to bring back the two signet rings, and they already have one. So I tell Collin to roll for it. He rolls a natural 20, and adds 7 to the persuasion roll.
I guess that means that the deal is struck. I mean, as a DM, how can I argue with that. Since Brian isn’t there, Shadow Hawke is traded for a signet ring. Hmmm.
The party goes back to the royals, and gives the two signet rings back to dear old mother royal, and beats feet out of town, before too many questions can be asked.
Next week, GURPS with goblins on the Starship Warden.