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  • Nunavut Pants
    This past weekend was another session with the Small Valley folks.

    We had a complete newb in the group, so we kept things lightweight. First, we played a couple of games of "King of Tokyo". The new player chose Cyber Kitty as her monster, and proceeded to wipe the floor with the rest of us. "That Cyber Kitty is one bad-ass bitch!" was the quote of the game. She actually won the first game by getting enough VPs (stars), and won the second one by taking out all of the other monsters.

    Then the two people we knew were going to be late showed up. Someone suggested "Poetry for Neanderthals", and so we played that. One person was very enthusiastic about using the prop that comes with the game.

    Oh, the prop? It's an inflatable plastic caveman club. You use it to bop the clue-giver when they do something wrong.

    This is another word-guessing game; there is a clue-giver and a bunch of guessers on each team. The clue-giver has to only use words of one syllable in their clues; if they use polysyllabics or if they say the word then they get bopped and the card is worth -1. Each card has a word, and then a longer word or phrase that contains the first word. (E.g., one was "Stone" and "Stonehenge".) If the guessers get the short word, the card is worth one point, if they get the longer one it's worth three points. You can go after the short and then the long, or just go straight for the long one.

    We played long-hair versus receding-hairline, and the long-hairs won. (It was initially boys-vs-girls, but the long-haired guy who stepped out to make a phone call came back in the middle of the game so we re-labeled the teams.)

    Oh, and the person who was so eager to bop someone with the club only had one opportunity to do so--and she forgot!!

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    D&D AL - Waterdeep: Dragon Heist--

    Yes, one of the Adventurers League DMs decided to run the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist campaign, so of course I signed on for it. I did warn her I'm running the same campaign at home. She was fine with it. She even had me sit next to a brand new player at the table, since he hadn't played D&D ever, so I was explaining some of the mechanics where appropriate.

    In Old Xoblob Shop, the party ended up intimidating the shopkeeper into divulging information he had about the abduction of our client. But he still tried to shake us down for coin...

    Shopkeeper: "I-I-I... could tell you more for, um, for, um, maybe f-five gold..?"
    Me: "Hm? What was that? One gold?"
    Shopkeeper: "I, uh, I-I--- t-three gold?"
    Me: "One gold, five silver."

    And then, after he spilled the beans, as we left, my cleric just presses his palms together and smiles, "Selune's blessings be upon you."
    Mysteries of Albia--

    Hoo, boy.

    We got a huge lore dump at the start of the session, one which completely recontextualized and overturned a lot of what we thought we knew about the setting. Magic sort of went away like two thousand years ago in the "Great Withering," but we found out that nearly all the magic in the world had one of two origins-- the Fey or the Dragons, who had been at war for ages. About three thousand years ago, the two sides had signed a Contract (more like a treaty) and had largely withdrawn from the world after.

    There was a "guarantor" for the Contract, which had been tied to the immortal part of someone's soul. As it was explained, the immortal part of the soul remains when one passes on, and can be reincarnated, often without its prior lives' memories. And the guarantor had been reincarnated into our rogue, Vash. And devils like Knives are the patrons of all contracts, and Knives was the protector of that guarantor. All of this came as a huge surprise to Eric, Vash/Knives' player, and both halves protested this couldn't be true, since Vash had rescued Knives from the Thunder Lord. But this was explained as not coincidence, and that it had been orchestrated by fate/destiny, via the Queen of the Hells, Queen Medb.

    All of this was over-arcing lore, not completely related to our current case. Which was about the disappearance (presumed death) of a Liverpudlian author, who is like a fantasy version of Lewis Carrol, and who had collaborated with a Liverpudlian band which wore colorful animal costumes. (Fantasy Beatles) While running down some leads in London, we got some banking information on all five and took a look at their banking records, which had a lot of donations to various individuals and institutions in Liverpool (at least one of which was a front for a Fey activist group), but then...

    Jesse decided to throw in a gag, "What's this-- multiple donations to someone named Ashley Madison?" The table broke down in laughter, and the DM insisted that wasn't canon. But that didn't stop everyone else ignoring him and riffing on the idea about who Ashley Madison was... Did she run a gentleman's club? Publish gentlemen's literature? Was it a brothel?

    Camilla: "Are you saying they're prostitutes?"
    Me: "No, no, they call themselves 'seamstresses.' (Hem, hem.)"
    DM: "No! No! This is not true!"
    Me: "No, she is a seamstress, she just makes the costumes for the band! Boom, there you go, we gave you an out--"
    DM: "This is not canon!"

    (It's totally canon, and we all know it, and knowing my fellow players, we'll find a way to sneak the joke in again.)

    There was an additional joke that came up at the end of the session, as everyone was turning in for a long rest. Beckett (Jesse's character), a church-raised warrior who was clearly disturbed/troubled by revelations about the gods he worshipped (which came out during the lore dump) and about other revelations about the party (Knives being a devil, Vash some living macguffin about a heathen contract, and Caradoc turning out to be a seven-foot-tall satyr), turned to Charlie and asked him, "Charlie... You are human, right?"

    The DM thought this was hilarious and gave him Inspiration for it. And laughed even harder knowing there was no way for Jesse to use that Inspiration, since we were literally about to take a long rest, after which Inspiration goes away.
    Home game - Waterdeep: Dragon Heist--

    The party was crawling through the sewers into a Xanathar Guild hideout in search of Floon, a handsome if unlucky friend of Volo. In every room, Sean (the rogue) was asking what loot there was, as was Richard (the paladin), though Grymjack (Richard's character) was mostly interested if there were any warhammers. I had to tell them repeatedly, "I will let you know if there is anything to loot."

    Richard was playfully getting frustrated at the lack of hammers-- Grymjack, prior to meeting up with the party, had fought some bandits and thrown his warhammer at one of them, sending the bandit and his hammer over the side of a cliff, making the hammer unretrievable. When Richard threw his hands up after another lack of hammers in the loot, I had to tell him, "You're the one who decided to throw your hammer off a cliff!" (I may relent and let him find one later.)

    The "boss fight" room in the hideout saw me sketch it out on my battlemap, and then start setting out minis to represent the people in the room, and as I typically do, I reminded my friends, "These are placeholders, they aren't necessarily the same thing as what you're seeing." Which got them asking, "So these aren't real?" "Some of them might be." Which should have been a warning for them. But I chose one of the minis very specifically, as I described them seeing a mind flayer at the end of the room, which got Richard (D&D vet) and Nami (Baldur's Gate 3 player) to both get worried. So was I, since I knew a mind flayer was a threat that none of the Level 1 party was prepared for.

    Fortunately, Richard had Grymjack call out to the mind flayer and get it to read his mind, to convince it that the NPC who was being tortured in the room wasn't the guy they were looking for. So the flayer peeked into his mind, recoiled from Grymjack's mild insanity, but saw he was telling the truth. So the flayer glared at the half-orc torturer, rolled its eyes, then called its pet intellect devourer back to itself, then glided out of the room. So the boss fight became a pretty basic 4-v-1 squash against a squishy half-orc wizard.

    Brian, who plays our cleric, played up the cleric's frustrations with the party's antics-- in one of the earlier fights, Grymjack and a duergar kept swinging at one another and missing-- and described the cleric as just storming up and smashing a target in the head with his mace. And then gave a great one-liner--

    "Part of my Life Domain is ending it."

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  • Nunavut Pants
    My wife is from New England--Sarcasm is her native language. Luckily I'm fairly fluent in it.

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    Presented without context from D&D AL last night--

    Us: What alignment is your warlock?
    Her: Sarcastic neutral.

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    Mysteries of Albia--

    So we finally agreed on a name for our party of P.I.'s after more than twenty sessions. While we'd nicknamed the group the Eagle Scouts after our first couple of sessions, due to the work that got put in by a summoned eagle and owl familiar and raven-like incarnated-spirit, we'd never committed to it in-character. But after foiling the assassination attempt and taking out a terrorist cell in our previous sessions, we were being awarded with medals and needed to give an official name for our team. We discussed some options, noting how we cleaned up problems (almost leading to calling ourselves something like "Waste Management") and fixed problems ("Fixers"), and suggesting the more non-indicative "Nova," we finally combined two of them and officially named ourselves "Fixer Nova." (OOCly, the "Nova" part is because we're in Northern Virginia, which is sometimes called "NoVa," but locals usually use "NOVA" to refer to the local community college.)

    We also got promoted within our detective agency, which led to our participating in a sort of arcanic ritual and being associated with one of several different elements, but as luck (i.e. the dice gods) would have it, all but one of us rolled for the same element (Fire), and we got similarly associated codenames. This led to a joke later when the team needed to "balance their mana" while touching a crystal ball (we all needed to roll within a certain range of each other on d20's), as the DM described it as a sort of "Captain Planet" kind of thing, but we all immediately leant into the joke: "Fire! And Fire! And Fire! And Fire! And Ether! By your powers combined, OH GOD I'M BURNINNNNGGG!!!"

    Waterdeep: Dragon Heist--

    And I also DM'ed my first proper session with my roommates! They took on a troll and were doing a good job fighting it by themselves before an NPC jumped in and almost killed it, but Aurum the Cleric was able to get the last blow in. Then they met Volo, who wanted to hire them to find a friend that had maybe been kidnapped, and ... well, all of my players were immediately suspicious and kept rolling Insight checks. Most of them rolled pretty low. I didn't let them just do it immediately, made them wait until a bit later in the conversation to try again, until finally one of them rolled well enough to determine that Volo was being honest, but maybe didn't have the promised payment on him right at this moment.

    They found the Old Xoblob Shop, a curiosities store, and got distracted asking questions of him, wanting to buy the stuffed beholder in the window, trying to see if there were any magic items in the store, etc. I let them roll d100 to see what trinkets stood out to them, and Raei the Druid found a "velvet packet of pink dust," which she rolled an Arcana check on, and rolled very well, but then I told her, "It's a packet of pink dust. As in a packet of dust that is pink."

    Eventually, they tracked the baddies to a warehouse, where they tried to barge through the door, but failed the STR check, so they picked the lock instead. Of course, since they'd made some noise, the kenku inside were alerted and had hidden, and... well, this fight was where the DM's Curse kicked in. The DM's Curse is basically that the DM tends to roll pretty well against the party, but if that DM later is a player, the rolls go worse. I rolled two Nat-20s in the fight, and downed Aurum in the process. Fortunately, Raei was able to get to him after I coached her into using her Misty Step to close the distance and move up to Cure Wounds. Roberto the Rogue also got distracted trying to loot some dead bodies and thus got targeted by some of the kenku, nearly going down himself.

    After all the fighting and questioning a friendly NPC who had been held captive, the City Watch turned up and started asking questions. Roberto tried cracking wise, but some poor choice of words got him the hairy eyeball. In the conversation that followed, I kept rolling Insight checks from the Captain against Roberto's Deception checks, and not rolling well enough to see through it, though he was still suspicious of Roberto.

    Captain: (narrows eyes)
    Roberto: I dream of being a comedian, so I make jokes.
    Captain: Hm. What's your name?
    Roberto: Frank. Westcastle.
    Captain: (writes that down) Hm. Comedians are usually funny.
    Roberto: Humor is subjective.
    Captain: Yes, well, don't quit your day job. Speaking of, what is it you do?
    Roberto: Real estate agent.
    Captain: Hm. Well, you'll want to register with the local guild. Also, if you plan to pursue that dream of yours, you'll want to enroll with the Jesters Guild.

    And you bet that I was writing down my roommate's answers to all this stuff.

    All in all, the session went well!

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    Descent into Avernus--

    This was the conclusion of our Adventurers League Descent into Avernus campaign. It started with us fighting off a wave of gnolls and gnoll-like monsters, then a larger wave of gnolls and demons, until we found ourselves fighting Yeenoghu, the Demon Prince of Gnolls (a lesser god), and while he was messing us up, we held our own long enough for reinforcements to show up and end the battle. Then, as we approached the end of the session, we confronted Zariel, a fallen angel turned archdevil and ruler of Avernus, who started by having us kill another archdevil, before demanding we return her sword, a powerful magical artifact and weapon, to her. Instead, we managed to convince her to stand down, to spare the people of the city we'd come to Hell to save, by appealing to her previously angelic nature. (My character helped persuade her by saying, "The true mark of power is mercy, not merely destroying evil.") Our group persuasion check was high enough (the lowest anyone rolled was 17, with all the others being above 20) that we successfully redeemed her.

    We were playing in a special reserved room in the game store we use, and there was something about that table. There were the most Nat-20s I've ever seen, from multiple players, DM included.

    Some of the fun occurrences--

    We had a player dropping in for the end of the campaign who had some insane bonuses on his attacks (thanks to both his character build and some items he had), so he was nearly always landing hits and dealing some crazy damage in doing so, upwards of 50 points of damage on his first attack.

    Ranger: [does a crazy attack and damage]
    DM: Okay. Your second attack?
    Ranger: (rolls) Nat-20.
    Me: (to the DM) I just saw your eye twitch!

    And then, during what ended up being the final combat encounter of the campaign--

    DM: So, Gargauth is going to drop a Fireball right in the middle of all of you.
    Warlock: Counterspell.
    DM: Okay, he Counterspells your Counterspell.
    Me: I Counterspell HIS Counterspell.

    The DM actually gave us a "well done" on that one, because in doing so, we'd basically killed this (weakened) powerful fiend in one round of combat, between the Ranger/Rogue/Cleric's crazy attacks and our Fighter/Barbarian's also crazy attacks, taking him down to single-digit HP, and then on Gargauth's first chance to attack, we just completely negated him.

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  • Nunavut Pants
    I hosted Bunco today. I did better than last time, which pretty much meant I wound up about mid-field in results.

    The dice were pretty "cold" overall for everyone, it seemed. Scores seemed generally pretty low, and the person with the most "Buncos" (all three dice match the current round number) was only 3 in 18 rounds of play!

    It was still fun, and still a good excuse to socialize.

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    I'm going to be trying my hand at DM'ing some D&D for my roommates again, with our Session 0 this Sunday. I gave them a few options of adventures to run, and after getting their votes in, we'll be doing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, and they'll be running around the City of Waterdeep, dealing with various factions and nefarious sorts, and possibly getting their hands on at least part of a massive hoard of gold pieces.

    EDIT: Session 0 went well. They mostly had their characters done, a few little corrections here and there. Just needed everyone to decide how their characters knew one another, how they met, etc. And give a little bit of a rundown about Waterdeep in a broad sense (warning Sam that being a murderhobo will land him in jail before execution) and what not.

    This is our wonderful cast of idiots:

    * Raei Moonlight, an eladrin druid fresh from the Feywild.
    * Roberto, a human rogue with an interest in stabbing people and robbing them.
    * Grymjack Dane, a "chaotic awful" dwarf paladin with a -1 INT modifier.
    * Aurum Oro, a dragonborn cleric who is now questioning his life (domain) choices.
    Last edited by Jay 2K Winger; 01-16-2024, 09:46 PM.

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  • Nunavut Pants
    Last week, one group organized a Bunco afternoon. Bunco being a very silly dice game, where you roll three dice and see how many of them match the number of the round you are in. There are six rounds per game. Each die that matches scores your team one point; if you roll three-of-a-kind you score five points; if you roll three-of-the-round-number you score 21 points and call out "BUNCO!" Between rounds you change tables and teams.

    We played 3 games, 6 rounds in each, for 18 rounds. I lost 15 of the 18 rounds. Fortunately, there was a door prize for the "Biggest Loser", and I won that one by a mile!!

    A couple of days later, there was another boardgame afternoon. I managed to get "Love Letter" on the table and four of us played a round or two. It's a fun kind of card game where you have a "hand" that is a single card, and on your turn you draw one card and play (or discard) either that one or the one in your hand. Cards have different effects, like you get to look at someone else's hand, or you compare hands and the person with the lower-value hand is knocked out of the round, and so on. The object is to either knock everyone else out of the round, or failing that to have the highest value hand at the end when the cards run out.

    From there, the whole group (8 of us) moved on to a dice game called "Bupkis". You roll six dice, and 1s and 5s score, as do three-of-a-kinds and three pairs. If you have any dice that score, you can pick up the others and re-roll them. If your score for that round goes over a certain number, you can stop and add that round to your total score. If you ever roll dice and none of them score, you lose all the points from the round. I did pretty well, pulling out a big lead fairly early. I was able to score every round for most of the game, up until near the end. The gal sitting next to me, however, put on a lot of points at the end and just beat me.

    I had to leave early at that point, so I don't know if there were any other games played.

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    Heckna's Carnival--

    Since Mike the DM needed more time to prep for our next Mysteries of Albia session (holidays and such), Bob decided to run a one-shot for us using the recently released, Kickstarter-funded Heckna's Carnival campaign setting. We'd all be Level 6 (at least 1 level in Warlock, the rest in whatever class we wanted), and we rolled for our stats. Among other limitations he put on character creation was that we could not take Eldritch Blast as one of our Warlock spells, instead we would get access to a setting-specific spell called Pie Strike, which was basically an acidic pie to the face kind of thing. The reason being that our characters' Warlock patron was Heckna, in one of his various aspects. I decided that my tiefling character, Brandish, was a Rogue Assassin to go with his level in Warlock. Gave him a New York accent for lolz, and it worked since his patron was Heckna's Angry aspect. Brooklyn Rage!

    After finishing character creation, we plunged in, arrive at the Revelia, Heckna's demiplane, and are sent to go challenge the carnival's wrestling champion, Hellvis. (Yes, Bob did an Elvis impression to go with all of the musical puns and references.)

    We didn't manage to finish the one-shot in time (the store where we play was closing), so this may end up being a two-shot adventure.

    But during our first encounter while making our way through Hellvis' lair, we're confronted with a bunch of ballroom-dancing automata, which grapple with three of our PCs. Then I get my turn, and I decide to use Pie Strike on one of the clusters of dancers that hadn't taken action yet. I point out that my Assassinate feature gives me advantage on any creature that hasn't taken an action yet, and the advantage will let me apply Sneak Attack bonus damage if I connect. And I get a Natural 20. That ended up being 10d6 of damage, and Bob the DM decreed that my Pie Strike basically turned into an AOE strike, and took out the entire quartet of dancers I'd targeted.

    As he put it, "You accidentally cast Pie-reball."

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  • Nunavut Pants
    More gaming at A's house!

    On the 30th, I wound up in a Power Grid game. We played this one on the US map, but when we selected the play zones we wound up not picking the Midwest so nobody could use that area of the country. I was able to pick up some end-of-game power plants early on (plants that power 5 or more cities) but wound up unable to buy enough cities to win by the end of the game. JH won as expected--he and AP like the game immensely and have played it a lot. I came in 4th out of 6 people.

    The players then re-organized, and I played a game called "Trick Takers". It is a Japanese game with rules and such translated--the cards were in sleeves and the ones with text on them had English-language text printed on paper and stuffed into the sleeve to overlay the Japanese writing parts of the card. This was billed as an "asymmetric trick-taking game". Each round, every player selects a role card and each role gets special powers and ways to score. The rounds are five tricks long. There are three normal suits, plus one trump suit (think: Spades) and some special cards with special rules--one is higher than everything else, one is lower than everything else, and one role (Berserker) gets cards that are higher value than everything else in that suit but that are beaten by the lowest number of that suit. There are various ways to win the overall game, like getting the most points, meeting specific victory conditions for the role, by taking the most tricks (without ties) twice, or by taking zero tricks all three rounds. JH won that twice, and A won it once.

    Last night, everybody played Outpost. It's far from my favorite, but basically everybody else wanted to play so I went along with it. As expected, I sucked. This is another game where we have several people who really really like it and play a lot, so they tend to do very well. Outpost is an "engine building" or "economy building" game, where you purchase facilities to build stuff that is worth money and use that money to purchase more facilities (which are also worth a couple of victory points) and extra cards that give you specific abilities or discounts on other things and VPs. One interesting mechanism is that each good that you produce is actually a draw on the appropriate deck of cards for that good, and each card has a monetary value that varies from card to card, with rarer goods having generally higher values than more common ones.

    I feel like I was held back by the cards I drew, but I have the feeling that everyone who doesn't do well feels that way. I did start by invoking the house rule that anyone whose initial cards didn't add up to 20 could still buy a "water plant" (which costs 20), which nobody else had to resort to. Actually, host A was able to buy both the water plant and the person to run it, so he got very good cards! It turned out not to help him in the long run, as he finished in last place. The "extra cards" are bought through an auction, with a minimum bid printed on the card. I did not do very well in the auctions, due in part to my cards running lower than expected values. Both A and I were both often in the state of not quite having enough to meet the minimum on the cards that were up for auction, so we were unable to even try to get the cards we wanted. As a default, I wound up buying more and more titanium mines, which are better than water-making plants but worse than the other factories. The last few rounds of the game, my income was not enough to even try for the high-value cards that were available. My hand values were almost always below the "expected value" (you get the average for each type of card listed on your player mat) for the types of cards I held, which makes things difficult...

    Anyway, JB won for the first time after having played a fair number of times. She had gotten into the yellow goods early and had a lot of them, which definitely helped.

    We wound up the evening with several rounds of Just One.

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  • Nunavut Pants
    Lots of gaming this week for me!

    Wednesday was with what I'll call Group G, at one member's lovely house in the foothills around here. We played an opening round of "Just One" (which I have described here more than once, I believe) as a way to kill time until more players arrived. We then broke up into two groups, but I can't for the life of me remember what we played. It was new to me, but it just hasn't stuck with me. We finished up with "So Clover", another favorite that I have also described.

    Thursday was with Group A, which is always hosted by someone I will call A. After some socializing, we broke up into two groups. One played "Outpost", which is a big favorite of many in the group but which I don't care for that much. The rest of us played "Dos Rios", which was new to all of us. It is a game where you try to claim locations along two rivers, gaining you money or wood to build dams. The dams allow you to change the course of the rivers. I was able to get a whole bunch of wood early on, and to claim a lot of spaces on the Rio Marron which then collected several times in a few turns. I was able to play some dams defensively to keep the other two players from moving the rivers away from my river spaces, and was able to build three Casas and one Hacienda, in river spaces, winning the game.

    Since Outpost was still going (it takes a while!) we played another new game, "Wacky Wacky West". This game involves building roads/railroads/rivers on a board, potentially knocking down buildings on the board. Each player secretly owns one color of building, and tries to keep the roads/etc. from knocking down his color of buildings. J won that one very handily, because the only building he lost was his highest-value one and the other two of us lost the highest-value and one or two others as well.

    Since Outpost still wasn't done, the three of us played 6 Nimmt, which is another popular quick and simple game that involves placing cards down on one of four stacks and picking up any stack that gets to 6 cards tall. Cards all have some number of "penalty points", and the player with the fewest points wins. I won very handily.

    After that, J and AB left, and the Outpost game finally finished. I stuck around after that just long enough for a few rounds of "Just One", which were a fun way to end the evening.

    I'm heading back to A's in a few minutes, now, and will probably head over there again tomorrow!!

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    Descent into Avernus (via AL)--

    We met this evil paladin of the evil dragon goddess Tiamat, a dragonborn called Arkhan the Cruel. Critical Role fans will remember him from Campaign 1, as Joe Manganiello's PC from the final arc. We needed to make a deal with him so as to acquire a macguffin we needed to trade for another macguffin, to trade for another macguffin...

    Any rate, Arkhan the Cruel is a high-level NPC (he has a challenge rating of 16, meaning a well-equipped four-person party of Level 16 adventurers should find him a challenge) with a number of powerful artifacts. Not least of which is the Hand of Vecna, a powerful necromantic artifact. We were all Level 10, apart from one Level 7.

    Arkhan was amenable to trading an artifact we had for the macguffin we needed, "if we proved ourselves worthy." He was clearly intending to fight us all with his backup (an evil cleric, a minotaur barbarian and some ghouls), when one of our Warlocks said, "I'll fight you for it."

    We all looked at the player, who had admitted he wasn't familiar with Critical Roll, and knew nothing about Arkhan. I asked him, "Are you sure you want to do this?" The DM asked him if he was serious. He was. He wanted to 1v1 Arkhan.

    The rest of us backed off, and I turned to the Bard. "You might want to start composing a song about his bravery. I mean, foolishness."

    The only reason the fight lasted more than 2 rounds is because, after tanking a Finger of Death, the Warlock cast Banishment on Arkhan, sending him back to his home plane for 1 minute (10 rounds). When he didn't return, the evil cleric just sighed, went, "I'll be right back," and teleported to Arkhan, then teleported him back. Arkhan promptly beat the Warlock down to 0 HP, knocking him unconscious. Warlock failed one (of three) death saves, and then Arkhan attacked him while he was down, an automatic two failed death saves, thus killing the Warlock.

    The cleric revived him, and Arkhan handed over the macguffin, saying, "Thank you." Because, as the DM explained, in order to keep the Hand of Vecna from killing him, Arkhan has to kill one innocent person every day.


    In other news, we finished our chain of macguffin trades to get the information we needed to save the city of Elturel from Hell, and the DM allowed us 2 levels of advancement (making us Level 12), and also said we could use some of our level-up awards from doing Adventurers' League (you get 1 level of advancement for completing a session, plus 10 days of downtime which can be used for various benefits, one of which is another 1 level of advancement) to bump our levels, as long as we didn't go above Level 16 and exit our current tier.

    So now I've got a Level 16 Warlock ready for action.

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  • Jay 2K Winger
    Mysteries of Albia--

    We had the Labyrinth Game, a sort of England-vs-France/Germany competition. Very Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire inspired-feeling. And then we did a speedrun. Between a talking animal companion and an owl familiar flying over the maze, we couldn't get lost, and Caradoc the Druid just wildshaped into a moorbounder and used its 70-foot jump to let us bypass obstacles. And then, when we reached the center and needed to grab the Cup to win, we found it was hanging around the neck of a steam-powered clockwork dragon construct, which promptly flew 80 feet up. So the moorbounder!Druid just leapt within 30 feet of it, dropped wildshape, then used Misty Step to get to the Cup and grab it. Instant win.

    There was some roleplay stuff that followed the next day. Rewards for deeds accomplished, learning of more intel and plot developments, NPCs being met, and our church-raised Fighter having a one-on-one private word with the Archbishop. And I do mean one-on-one, as the DM asked everyone else to leave the table.

    We got to tour some of the world's fair expo exhibits, with the players all cracking wise, half-IC, about some of them. We met the setting equivalent of Marconi, showing off the radio, which we all agreed, "Eh, that'll never catch on!" and playing up our inability to understand the science and believing it involved magically shrinking lightning elementals or something. There was a Ferris Wheel, to which my character, London-native Charlie, remarked, "I can't see myself clappin' eyes on that in [London]."

    I did manage a couple of great rolls during the session, however. While an Irish band was performing-- good, non-offensive, non-controversial folk music-- one of the musicians got fed up, started playing a pro-Ireland ballad, which got the Albian ambassador furious, demanding he be arrested and beginning to fulminate about what'll happen to him, but Charlie stepped in and asked him to calm down, "Let's not do this in public, eh? We don't want to besmirch Albia's good name." The DM asked for a Persuasion roll, which (thanks to burning an Inspiration I had) was a dirty 20. The Ambassador calmed down and the rebellious musician was spared, though he refused to continue performing.

    But then, at the end of the session, while attending a circus performance in a private box with the Ambassador and the Director-General of Frankric (setting union between France & Germany), the Director-General (read: President) advised the Ambassador of a recent movement picking up steam in East Frankric, one that might turn militant and with military backing, which seemed to be calling for secession. A movement that centered around one word: Deutschland.

    --at which point, one of the Director-General's personal security detail drew a gun, stepped forward and declared, "Deutschland will be free!" And tried to shoot him in the head. Except Charlie has the Alert feat, which means he cannot be surprised. I declared he would intervene, and the DM asked for a DEX save. Natural 20!

    The would-be assassin, we then discovered, was already dead. No, not from a cyanide capsule. He was dead before he drew his gun; someone had injected something into his heart, and used the Danse Macabre spell to bring him back as an undead. And this had been done within the last hour...

    And that's where we ended the session.

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  • Nunavut Pants
    Game afternoon at a friend's house today! My half of the group played "So Clover", which is another word-guessing game. You get four square cards with four words on each, one facing each direction. You arrange them at random on a two-by-two grid (shaped like a clover leaf, hence the name). Then you look at the paired words on the top of the grid (one from each of two cards) and write a one-word clue for both of them. Repeat for each of the four sides of the grid, so you have four clues for eight words total. Clues can relate to each word separately, or both together, or sometimes just to one. Cards and writing are all hidden so nobody else can see them.

    When everyone has written their clues, you pick up your four cards, add a fifth random one in, and shuffle them. Then each player has a turn: Their clues are revealed and all five shuffled word cards. That player cannot say anything at that point, or communicate at all. The other players then try to figure out which four word tiles fit on the grid, and in what orientations. Once they have guessed, and are satisfied with their guess, the clue-giving player either tells them they have everything right, or they remove any cards that are not in the right spot turned the right direction. The other players get one more (well, we played that we got two more!) chances to get everything right.

    It can be really difficult to come up with good clues, but people will surprise you with how well they follow your train of thought sometimes. There's also a lot of comparing the words on the sides of the card, since each card is associated with both the clue on the "top" of the grid, and one space on the "side", so that can help work things out.

    It's a fun, fairly lightweight, social party kind of game. We did a half-dozen rounds I think, and everyone enjoyed it. It is one of this group's regular games, though.

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