I knew that the time will come where I get over being burned out this year. I know that, by this time last year, I was trying to stay with the “Ballad of Johnny Briz” comic strip, and even set a goal of 50 strips during 2015. What I wasn’t aware of, or what I was trying to deny, is that I was staring Artist Burnout in the face. It’s a long story but I can say that it was by the major flack I got. No, not the more supportive critiques on my art style, whatever it’s anatomy, facial structure, how I make hands and feet, and others things that I can use to improve on. I don’t mind that; all I’ll ask is specifics and civility and we’ll get along just fine. It was the ones that turn away from my artwork or story and start denigrating me as a person. I won’t list them here, but that would make anyone not want to post anything on a web site or, in my case, even sit down in front of a piece of poster board and draw something, anything.
Some would call it an excuse for me not to “work hard,” but I’m just acknowledging reality; sometimes all the time spent with nose to grindstone just leaves you without a nose, where the work was just work and not the fun and joy and life enrichment artwork–especially a web comic–should be. Hence the Sabattical I took through 2015. I needed to step away from everything so I can rekindle the spark, figuring out what’s really important in my life, find a way to work that I can actually enjoy, and evnetualy get back into making artwork.
My only problem would be me returning to the proverbial ‘scene of the crime’ and returning to DeviantART. I’d really like to go somewhere else, where I don’t have to fear of getting my head chewed out every time I poke it in here. But in the end, there’s too many friends in there for me to just leave this place like I could do with Twitter and Tumblr. Or for that matter Facebook. Also, I’m more familiar with the interface in this site in spite of its occasional change. On top of that, I’m still a subscriber, so if I’m paying for this, I might as well use this. I just need to be a bit more vigilant with the Banhammer.
So what’s in the future for me hereon DA with my New Year’s Resolution (and yes, I can see you place bets on how soon I’ll break it, I know who you are )? Well, I have two projects coming that will help me get back into artwork: One is a RPG Maker MV which I’m using to learn how to code a game, something I’d always wanted to do. You’ll see more artwork on it here, and more info about it on my web site (foxfirestudios.net). The second one is a campaign world I’ve been working with called Æthercoil, which I’ve also talked about on my blog, but I’ll probably chose to get back into serious pieces here.
2015 proved better than I expected, especially in the later months when I was getting my life back together–most of them in Dungeons & Dragons, but hey, whatever keeps me a part of the Human Race–and I hope that 2016 will be an improvement.
And that I can actually keep comments open here in my DA page.
There isn’t much going on this week on the D&D front, not even in Encounters. My main crew had a special event with John as the DM instead of me, I played a character that I might highlight sometime next week, but nobody else showed up (and the usuals had to go to a Christmas Church event later on that night.)
So I’m just going to take this week off and give you the yearly line I always say about this time:
In this point in the calendar year, there are a lot of Holidays. For some, it’s Christmas. For others, it’s Hanukkah, and for others, Milad un Nabi. There’s even Kwanza, Humanlight, Yule, Festimus, and a miryad of other holy days. Some of us even call it Friday.
But whatever you call tonight, however you celebrate it, or even what you celebrate or even if you celebrate just being alive, make it a good one, you all, and have a safe and peaceful day with well wishings to everyone around us and every kind of holiday it is.
For everybody, there is a December 25. It’ll be a December 25 whatever you make it merry or not. Might as well have a merry one.
Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Halftime Guns, Psychotic wastes of Ooze. Psychotic waste to the Force, Psycotic Child Abducting Santa Clones. And a Spoiler to Episode VII. Bring back the Fucking Books, Disney.
Han and Lea should’ve never had a kid. Their genetics created a spurg-headed utter waste of midi-chlorians. Not even pre-trilogy Anakin was ever this spergy1. Truly, you will never find a more total disgrace of all that is Sith. J.J. Abrams should be ashamed. That’s all I’ll ever say about Episode VII in this blog until everyone seen the movie. (Oh, and before you ask, I loved everything else about it. I’ll say more, but you know, spoilers.)
Last week in Encounters, the gun for Halftime in the Out of the Abyss campaign went off. The party went through the Battle for Blingdenstone. I focused on the main party doing the tip-of-the-spear push to attack the Pudding King while everyone else took care of the ‘trash’ (An MMO term there, meaning everything else that wants to kill you in the boss scene, or anything that would be following you wanting to kill you on the way to said boss scene.) I managed to throw them a good assortment of Black Puddings, Gray Oozes, Ochre Jellies, and even a Gelatinous Cube in the mix, before I popped up a set of columns for the Pudding King to barricade behind for a spell or two. I had their weapons and armor acid-proofed—a quest reward for completing one of the tasks earlier—and even called “Climax Mode” where you can use more than 1 Action Point in an encounter (but only one per turn, however) since this is a boss fight.
Of course, the battle was won, and the party was granted safe passage up toward the surface, and eventually to a new city in my Forgotten Realms: Westchester. After Bruenor Battlehammer’s (temporary) death, the dwarves at Mithryl Hall discovered the cave that lead to Blingdenstone, which at the time was still vacant. They teamed up with House Neo-Durdren (A renegade Chaotic Good-aligned Drow House of Drow outcasts and Renegades inspired by Drizzt Do’Urdren, their “Patriarch Emeritus”), and built a small village on the site, with a temple that houses the entrance of the passageway.
That’s what the party arrived to, and was met by some rather friendly—and sane—surface dwelling dwarves and drow, and especially, the High Noon sun, which had its way with all Drow-made material save for some magical items and what not.
Cue the Halftime gun. Just in time for the holidays.
I’ll be working on the next session—as well as the second half—this coming week after some well-deserved time off over the weekend (which I’ve seen Episode VII. Save for one character, I loved it.) and I’ve already have a Holiday-themed session prepared for the party, which I’ve already tested out.
Every Winter in the Realms, you hear a story of what looked like a Jolly Old Giant Fat Man in a Red Suit….taking wayward kids away where they’re never heard of again. Many kids here have heard of the story of Krampus but usually don’t give them much mind; if you hear of one such “You be a good child or else X will get you” story, you’ve pretty much seen all of them. Until of course you see him actually appear. Most kids, when they catch wind, combine their efforts and drive Krampus away, who leaves behind stuff from his sack (Presents used to lure kids) as a ‘drop.’ Most Adventuring groups in Faerun begin this way.
In my Holiday-themed session, which will take place between the two halves as far as my Encounters group is concerned, the party finds word of a Gingerbread-style house on top of a mountain where Krampus is found, they find the group to find, not just your stereotypical workshop, but also a bunch of caged children hanging from a ceiling. And a large present-covered box where Krampus takes one kid and—to the party’s horror—turns them into a stereotypical Christmas Elf with no memory of who they were and a compulsion to start working with a singsong chant in his-or her-lips.
Then Krampus looks at the party and….we can just roll for initiative now.
I got my inspiration from Worldbuilder Blog, which I combined with the upcoming “Krampus” movie about the evil twin of Santa Claus, who pretty much did what this Krampus did. I tested it on my Dreams of the Red Wizards crowd and they loved it. (I even have the elves transformed into Dwarves for them to kill, although I won’t do that for the Encounters table.) It should be for a really interesting Nightmare Scenario I usually throw on the Holidays.
Also, even after this session, the effects will be felt. This campaign world is persistent, after all.
1 I make a distinction between having ASD and being ‘Spergy.’ People with ASD have a mental condition that isn’t in sync with the general population, and most of them are well aware of this. It comes in several factors, such as the inability of nonverbal cues, being socially clumbsy, not able to communicate appropriately or not at all, not being able to focus on more than one thing at a time, having one or more senses that are either hyper-sensitive or not sensitive at all, problems with priproception, and countless other things that would make you seem ‘off’ to the general public. People who are ‘spergy’ are those who are deliberate, be they consciously or subconsciously, in being different by accentuating what makes them so with the volume knobs somewhere in the teens, and will fly off the handle if anyone ever questions them on it. They might incorporate a game or cartoon as part of their personhood, be on a constant prowl for a proper mate by being utterly creepy on it, be so focused on something to the point of it becoming their religion, and doing any single item that Chris W. Chandler has ever done in his life. My first paragraph shows a prime example of someone who’s ‘spergy.’
In this part, I steer away from political special interests and hentai, thank the Gods, and move on to current activities in the Red Larch region. It seems that businesses has picked up while the crew were getting their groove on with the Bunnies at Yartar, with two other parties (NPC parties I’ve thrown in) answering the call to deal with the returning cultists. This will be fortunate, because there are three areas that needed to be addressed all at once:
The first part is the ever increasing petrified people that the Cult of the Black Earth is worrying Meriele Ambercrown with. A Greater Restoration can deal with each of then, no problem, but it requires a 100 GP diamond for each spell. Diamonds that aren’t readably available. To get a cheaper alternative, I have good news and bad news. Good news is that there is a wizard in Beliard that has rediscovered the Stone to Flesh spell that uses only dirt and a blood sugar test of blood. Bad news is that she got herself captured, and someone has to rescue her.
The second one is the Dark Lady, a dragon worshiping drow followed by Cult of the Dragon rejects who live in Rundreth Manor. This is a variation of the quest in the book, only tweaked to suit my world. If you’ve read it, you know who she really is. This is where the party chose.
A Third track is related to the Dark Lady. There has been some reports of an Orb of Dragonkind somewhere in the region, an magic item that can control dragons. It needn’t be said that the cults should never get their hands on the device.
The NPC parties went to Beliard and to the noted dungeon where the Orb of Dragonkind was. The party headed to Rundreth Manor to hear with the Dark Lady said. As promised I’ll recap what she said:
Yes, yes, the damnable cults have tried to woo me to their causes, and I’ve been teaching them in blood to leave me and my subjects alone ever since. Those I allowed to leave went away disappointed. Well, disappointed once the terror wore off, that is, heh heh heh.
Now then, about why they are here, again. I’ve done extensive research about these parts. Underneath where we stand is the ruins of an ancient Dwarven kingdom of Besilmer. Besilmer is at once a huge elemental forge and a temple to the very elements that this world, and all who live in it, are made of. It consists of four temples dedicated to an element each; Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. If you’ve seen the museum in Red Larch, you’ll know of a quartet of keeps that have openings to these temples. They combine in the middle further underground into what it known as the Temple of the Elements, where the main forge would be. This floor has four deeper dungeons that lead to nodes of Elemental Energy, where the dwarves draw from the Elemental Chaos.
Centuries ago, a drow named Vizeran DeVir discovered this temple dungeon and corrupted it by calling on four evil Elementals—the Four Princes of Elemental Evil, they are known—and forged four weapons with a connection to each of these Elementals. With these weapons, he was able to form the Cults of Elemental Evil, who have been spreading chaos and destruction ever since. Last year, they have resurfaced into this region with the goal of reclaiming the Temple of the Elements. They’ve been driven back, but they weren’t defeated. Thus, they returned for Round Two.
However, not just Meriele has prepared for them. Over the winter, me and some of my associates has constructed another set of four elemental weapons, each designed to counter their respected cult. I have hidden them in the places I’ll note on your map. I don’t have to tell you that they are needed right now, do I?
After their visit in the Manor, they discussed what to do next. By this time, the Beliard party caught the trail of the kidnappers and lead them to Haayon’s Camp, and the Orb Party have reached their destination overland. They decided to pick up the four Elemental Weapons one by one, starting with the Earth one.
At this point, Roll20 decided to be bitchy to me; which is has been all night. It seems that now that it’s the holiday seasons and the busses stop running in the degenerate Safe Spaces they call colleges these days, (Ooops! Sorry, I didn’t want to get politically snippy this post. My bad) it seemed that everyone with a Roll20 account decided to start playing. At the same time.
I could hear the gasping breaths of the routers from my computer.
But I did manage to get a description of what they saw, and I’m relaying a scene that will lead them to the dungeon they’ll face next week:
A trail leads into an ever-narrowing defile between bluffs of wind-sculpted sandstone. Eventually the walls draw in so closely that you can reach out and touch either side, but then the narrow space opens into a hidden canyon in the heart of the hills. A sprawling monastery with dark, narrow windows and red tile rooftops stands in the middle of this natural amphitheater, ringed by sandstone cliffs all around. Ahead, a weathered flight of stone steps leads up to the ajar monastery doors. The plain doors are made of heavy timber with iron studs. A dusty footpath circles the building.
As the party approaches, the door slowly opens, revealing the halls inside, as they step up to the door, they hear an ancient and wispy voice. “You’re here for the Stonespliter Axe are you not? I suppose I should lead you the way. Come along, I’m not known for my patience.”
You come inside and see a desiccated man in a surprisingly new cloak, he must’ve bought it over the winter. “Come now, If I wanted to kill you instead of talking to you, the lot of you will be dead by now. Isn’t that what liches do. Dogged if I know: I became one by accident. I’m Renwick Caradoon, by the way, I’ll show you to the opening.
Renwick leads them to the alter room in the monastery, with a flight of stairs leading down. “I spent the winter closing off the staircase that would’ve lead you to the Temple of Earth. I finally got sick and tired of the blasted Cultists using my home as a freeway. After some time moving some caves around—took me most of the year no less, you should appreciate it—I placed the Axe in the back room of it. I’ve also, and you must excuse me on this, gathered enough traps and creatures to guard it. It shouldn’t be anything you’re not capable of handling, or at least I hope so.”
He then turns and leaves. “You can use this to rest if you insist, but don’t enter the eastern rooms—that’s where I live—and for Gods’ sake, keep the noise down. If I hear a kya from a Sacred Stone Monk one more time….”
The next Friday session will occur in that customized dungeon. How they can enter the Temple of Earth from the surface, however, is a different story.
Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, some political content, anti-Dwarf bigotry, some deeper exposition of some scenes, an impromptu Session Zero, and two parts this time.
I don’t intend to have politics on this blog. I leave such crap for Google Plus. I basically put my positions on my sleeve here and if you don’t want to hear it, the back button is on the upper left corner of your screen pal.
A little disclosure here: I’m pretty much a free thinker, not bogged down with either Left wing or Right Wing, and consider myself a libertarian with a very snarky wit. Especially Culturally. I’m pro GamerGate, a Level 3 MGTOW, have an adamant distaste for Social Justice Warriors, Modern Feminists, (Classical Feminists who consider me as a human being with equal standing is okay) and special snowflakes who’d get triggered by any itty bitty thing that comes into existence near them. (Re-evaluate your life if this is you.) The only thing that will get me near SJW territory is the treatment of Autistics. Parents who kill their children because they’re Auties and claim to be the victim of the ‘alien’ child should be shot. (Oh yeah, to me it’s not the Vaccines themselves, but having 8 at the same time, that would cause problems. Pacing the injections to 1 every other month is a good idea.)
As for Autism, I believe that I got mine by a car accident when I was 6, but was undiagnosed for quite some time. It was initially called Asperger’s Syndrome—yeah, that often maligned disorder—but doctors, scientists, psychiatrists and other people smarter than I can ever hope to be lumped all of the Autism-related conditions into a single umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder. That is perfectly fine by me. Autism sounds a lot more dignified than having some often misspoken German Name tattooed on you Scarlet Letter style.
Now that all that’s taken care of, we can go on with the recaps, where I find myself addressing two particular topics that are in the news these days:
Item: Encounter Table, Dec 9 (Political Topic: Syrian Refugee Crisis)
I prefer having more players than expected in the Encounters table. More than 5 is perfect, more than 8, I’m loving it. What really brings me down is having less than 4 on the table. I even call a session off if I can’t get a good number of people on the table.
Such is the case last Wednesday at Hero’s Hideout, where only the three main players—Rich, John, and Bill—showing up. However, I didn’t want them to find their time wasted (they drove over to the store) I decided to start up a backup adventure for when only three of them are present.
In my customized Forgotten Realms world, I let the ExpeditionsCampaigns run their course without me. Phalan and Mulmaster has been destroyed, and if the trend continues as it has, Hillsfar is next. That would prompt a log of people who used to live there to move, wouldn’t you think. Much like the real world war in the Middle East is forcing over a million of Syrans (and a lot more countries and yes, I’ll admit it, a couple of Assholes who shot up Paris) to make a forced march through the European Union, right?
Up to now, the Moonsea Refugee crisis hasn’t been addressed. They’re pretty much stuck in the Dales and Cormyr, where the borders got closed on them. However, it took me all of five minutes to think up a campaign idea for the main three guys on my Encounters table for a backup adventure: I set it at the finish point of one of my PBP campaigns: A new kingdom—actually one that returned from a 1000-year curse—is set up in the Parnast region, led by an elegant and attractive Lady Gariland. She sees the crisis as a way to build her kingdom and offers her returning, and vacant, country, and opened it up for the refugees. The Lord’s Alliance, of which she’s a part of, included her country, Algaren, as part of a series of locations along the remains of Anauroch (formerly Netheril; The Sundering has stripped the land from the Shade Enclave’s influence) with the hopes that they’ll resettle and re-explore the region before the Nethereeze can reclaim it.
That’s the basis behind my Encounters Backup campaign. Whether or not there is any regular progress in it, well, that’s up to how many people show up in Hero’s Hideout on Wednesdays. There’s a good guess that they might return to 8 players a table come January, but on the days that there’s not, well, there’s this. I’ll let you know when things come up.
Item: Dreams of the Red Wizards, 10 DEC (Item: Donald Trump and his lack of Giving a Fuck)
If Donald bails from the presidential campaign this year, I will never vote again. Ever. For anybody. I’ll just stay home and watch this country burn. As it should.
That said, I’ll admit it, he’s not the best person to bring people together. To me, Terrorism is a close second to the number one goal for an American President today; to unite the country from the extreme polar opposites that are ripping at each other’s throats right now. I’m not talking the Radical Right (right of Rush Limbaugh) and the Radical Left (Left of Nancy Pelosi) I’m talking the vast majority of people here in America who might have different viewpoints, but would consider their fellow men actual human beings that deserve a place on this earth just like them.
Ronald Regan was the last president who can do that. Both Bushes were too stupid to do it, Clinton tried too hard to do it and fell flat on his ass (protip: It’ll help if you don’t lie so much that people even doubt the Articles you say) , and Obama has his head stuck too far up his ass.
Donald Trump is the only person in this election cycle who has the ability to do that, in spite of himself. He’s got the populist stance, he speaks in common American languages, and he’s funding his campaign with his own money. Something only a handful of people on this planet can actually do. However, he’s prone to say stuff like this:
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release said. I’m copypasting the entire line from CNN so that you can see the whole thing. I know some of you haven’t seen the emphasized part until now. In my autistic mind, it’s sounds like Donald’s telling Washington to get that stick out of their collective asses. Like with Bush Jr pointing at the still-smoking rubble of the World Trade Center and going “If nobody does anything about the Taliban in Afganistan, I will, and you won’t like what I’ll do!” The rest of the world told Bush to go “Fuck Yourself and Check Your Privilege,” and you’ve read what happened in the recent history books. And how we have Daesh-heads that might get the Middle East nuked out of existence.
Apparently, the media is instead breaking Goodwins Law in decrying what Trump said. With that second part in Donald’s call, I see what he said as more Protectionist, rather than Fascist. If he were a fascist, he wouldn’t be calling for a blocking of Muslims. He’d be calling for the persecution of the ill, the old, the people stuck on welfare and SSI, those on the fringes of society, the people who just don’t fit in with the world around them, Christian W. Chandler, and even myself! People who, when they come for them, people will be cheering for their demise instead of standing up for them. All this, before the first Muslim, or in the case of the previous actual Fascist government the first Jew, were even thought about. All Trump said was, “Let’s hold off on letting people in from a region where there are people who want to kill us and eat our babies, until we find a better way to filter out the Assholes.” That’s protectionist, not racist, and some people will agree that it’s needed, especially that second part.
So when Barbra Walters tried to bean him upside his balding head with “Are you a bigot?” of course he’s going to say “No.”
If she asked my Dreams of the Red Wizards players that question, on the other hand, it’ll be a different story. They’ll spout long and eloquent about how Dwarves are a scourge of the world and should be eradicated in ways that will make Adolf Hitler blush, while I’m sitting in the corner with my head in my hands going, “I’m very sorry about this, Ms. Walters. I do not know these people. I’ve been trying to TPK their asses for months now!”
They’re currently at the Firehammer Hold, a dwarven stronghold that was overrun by Drugear (Read: Dwarves even Dwarves hate) and the party was pretty much in glee killing whatever dwarf they see and offending not one but two dwarven deities in the process. And then they had enough of a sack to ask me to make it harder. Last time I said that, a Gorgon nearly chunkied one of them. But since they asked oh so kindly…
As if shit ain’t gonna get real enough on Thursdays (Why isn’t everyone watching my Twitch Channel, oh yea, sometimes I don’t get enough players. At least I’ve got a waiting list now) I saw the return of one of my original players here:
Merdoc Battleborn has returned from his search for a healing spell.
Merdoc Battleborn is searching for his friends
Merdoc Battleborn is distracted by hookers… and blackjack
Merdoc Battleborn is also distracted by flowers.
Merdoc Battleborn is ambushed by goblins… wait no, not goblins, DWARVES! and “ambush” may be an interpretation for “approached” but god damned are they dead!
Merdoc Battleborn has one disappointed Chauntae where she wanted to be dead
Merdoc Battleborn attempts to seduce a farm maiden.
Merdoc Battleborn has seduced a farm maiden.
Merdoc Battleborn didn’t realize she was so ugly
Merdoc Battleborn is full of regret.
Merdoc Battleborn REGREW his penis
Merdoc Battleborn is proudly trying it out on farm girls. not village floozies
Merdoc Battleborn will never fuck a goblin again
At this point, I have Merdoc meet up with Pancheska and a now-succubus Shalendra Floshin. After a threesome, they lead the perv in the right direction. “Just follow the Tentacles,” Pancheska said, with a shudder. How many DMs are bothered with the concept that the Succubi NPCs in his campaign world have higher standards than the players?
Merdoc Battleborn wanders eastward following rumors of burnt corpses, stolen dresses and general mayhem.
Merdoc Battleborn searches for Axel.
Merdoc Battleborn is hot on the trail
Merdoc Battleborn is also hot….
Merdoc Battleborn searches for a creek
Merdoc Battleborn finds no creek
Merdoc Battleborn gets naked.
Merdoc Battleborn runs into a random encounter. a living suit of armor… it shakes it’s head and says “no shame…”
With my hands off the keyboard and the mike muted, I say, “Fuck you, Merdoc!”
Merdoc Battleborn searches for half armor tiefling
Merdoc Battleborn gets a direction point from living armor.
And from there he enters the scene where someone in the party was grabbing a sword sheathed in Chris Perkins Brand “Green Flame!” Alchemical Fire from a statue of the second Dwarven Diety, whom I turned into a Stone Golem. Once again, I brought someone down, but the TPK eluded me.
At the end, they asked me to crank things up.
Oooooh, am I going to crank it up.
But first, I need to send them through my Christmas-themed encounter, which will take place on 17 Dec. You’ll find out that St. Nick is not the jolly old elf in my Realms. In fact, there’s an Evil German counterpart of Santa Claus which the Forgotten Relams’ Krampus is styled after. Oh, and before you ask…If someone does something stupid like go back in time and kill Hitler before WWII, instead of the Nazis in the 40s, we’ll be fighting him in the 50s. And we’ll won’t be faring so well.
The Roll 20 outtage kept me out of finishing this session for tonight (11 DEC) just as I was about to round it up with a meeting in the Sacred Stone Monastery. My apologies for the major SNAFU. I’m posing this to let you know that you have gained 350 XP each for the Orge Battle (last encounter of the session) and I will bring you up to the set up for the next session with the recap.
As a set up to the main dungeon, I repurposed a couple higher level excursions in Chapter 6 of the book into introductory quests to set the mood and re-introduce the Elemental Cults. I took them through The Long Road, and just finished with Dark Dealings in Yartar before a couple more players bowed out at the end of the session. (At least they had a decency to wait til the end of the session before they done so.)
I don’t know if it was the Autism being a factor, or my tendency to stutter when I have to gather the notes and the thoughts in my head…or was it the Wink and Kiss in Yartar.
In the book, it is Yartar’s house of ill repute. I turned it into a Playboy Club, complete with Bunny Girls serving drinks, performing on stage, luring patrons in the back rooms, and many other sex work. I also introduced a two-part item that the party even managed to get a copy of. An item that takes back to some of my more freestyle—and erotic—Roleplay years. This might qualify as “True and Honest Content” in some quarters, so buckle up, kiddies.
I have a character who is an Android Sex Robot named Aline Rabbit, who is often seen in a Playboy Bunny outfit. In some Roleplays she uses this below item to get some women to ‘loosen up’ as it were, sometimes to have them part of her Gentleman’s Club. (Yeah, a classic dudebro fantasy. I refer you to the notice to your left.)
I don’t have Aline in my Forgotten Realms, thank God. But I did bring in that item for the players to mess around with:
Bunny Ears and Tail
2-piece Wonderous Item, Uncommon, Cursed
When affixed on a humanoid character, the ears on a headband affix to the wearer’s head, while the tail is affixed to the base of the spine. It cannot be removed unless lesser restoration is used on both.
When the Bunny Ears are worn, the wearer loses the majority of his or her inhibitions and sense of embarrassment or nervousness in social settings. If worn by a female, she also cannot be ‘triggered’ by casual male advances, including compliments and what could be regarded in the real world today as “Light Sexual Harassments” (Read: Cat calling, pick-up lines, and comments on looks doesn’t affect the wearer as they would, say, someone on Social Media.)
With the Bunny Tail, all forms of consequences of sexual activity is blocked; the wearer cannot get pregnant nor impregnate someone else, and the wearer gains immunity from all sexual based diseases. Some wearers even report a better sensibility ‘down there’ that makes sex considerably more enjoyable.
Some of the people would consider this item to ‘objectify women’ but that’s not my mindset when I first thought it up. (Sure, I was cybering when I first created this item, but I digress.) When I made a roleplay with this item, I was gearing it more like a 60s era Sexual Freedom and Liberation mindset rather than what the Luddites (read: Modern Feminists, especially the sex-negative types) would think. “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with,” sort of thing. The character with the items on them, sometimes accompanied with the rest of the Playboy Bunny outfit, finds herself in an environment where she can’t be hurt by sex, where she can’t be raped or harassed, and she can’t get pregnant or catch a disease. She’s free to express herself and act out without any ill consequences, and even the thought of holding off for 20-30 years before accusing someone, a common Modern Feminist tactic (I’m looking at you, Bill Cosby accusers) is the furthest from their minds. Even after the items are removed, the former wearer would be surprised of shocked over what she has done, but would remember actually enjoying what she did out of her own free will. She might even enjoy this lived experience in spite of herself. She would know what she was capable of when she ‘loosens up a little’, as they say.
Misogynistic? Perhaps. But they said that about Bayonetta as well and she was designed by a woman, and Bayonetta would’ve planted this item on some of the people she knows herself.
My reasoning might be “Apples to Oranges,” I know, but that’s just part of my creative process and a thought process of a 30-something (at the time) dudebro riddled with ASD. At least I kept it within fictional worlds and refrained from acting out in front of a web camera or—oh Thank God I have never done this—in the real world.
What happens next is the Rundreth Manor chapter, where the party will meet up with “The Dark Lady” whom I’ve described as a drow who replaced Lolth worship with Dragon Worship, and has gathered several dropouts from the Cult of the Dragon to join her. (Those who got the book know the real story.) I’m keeping all of the details in my One Note until I put them through the scenario. (Read: I haven’t gotten all the details down yet.)
I do have some more family-friendly content to close this multi-part recap. I might take Christmas week off, but next week, I’m planning a One-Shot Christmas themed encounter for next week. I’ll tell you more details later on this week.
Item: Dreams of the Red Wizards: The Fountainhead Business Report
Between getting Shalendra Floshin out of her catatonic state by making the elf her own thrall, and cataloging (and replacing) all of the stuff the party took for themselves, and keeping tabs of all the businesses in the Sword Coast, our resident Succubus assistant had a pretty busy tenday, so much so that she had to swoon some unloved soul every evening to blow off some steam. The party saw the result at the end of the Shalendra battle where she brought a whole bunch of maids with her to clean up the estate. Oh, and before you ask….
The Uniform is that of a Maid’s Dress, complete with apron, headband, and Mary Jane shoes. The Curse is two parts. When worn by a male, he is transformed into a female as if by a belt of Gender Change, and is not reversed, even by removal, until Lesser Restoration is cast. The gender will become cis female as well.
The second Curse occurs when the uniform is worn. For the duration of the costume is worn, the wearer is considered Charmed by the owner of the costume; the owner putting a hair of a fingernail in a pocket in the back collar of the uniform. The wearer will consider the owner her Master or Mistress and will obey every command that does not involve getting into direct harm regardless of Personality Trait or Alignment. When not obeying any commands, the wearer will have a compulsion to clean or tidy anything she sees that is even the slightest out of order, and will do it regardless of danger to herself. Resisting either of this will require a WIS Check of DC 15 plus one for each consecutive turn. On the first fail, she loses all will to resist and cannot attempt it again after a Short Rest, although her immediate area needs to be pristine and she cannot leave the room (or is told to stay.)
Only the owner or a Wish spell will allow the costume to be removed.
…no, they’re not all girls. Pancheska likes to disguise those she has under her bat wings so that they won’t be recognized. I imagine what Succubus!Shalendra would look like. (Note: Pancheska will restore them to their original form and pay them quite handsomely for their services, provided they’d actually want to leave.)
Well, Pancheska managed to catalog the entire hoard the party acquired:
65 Arrows in 3 Quivers
Wire Flowers (50 GP)
6 Outfits for a female elf, three of which Pencheska took for herself, and 1 very seductive dress which she put on Shalendra that nobody else knows about. (Shalendra will also keep her traveling clothes)
250 GP worth of jewelry in light gold with moonstones. Pencheska took the rest of the 500 GP lot.
Bag of Holding
Cloak of Elvenkind
50 GP Crystal Decanter
25 GP Wine Glass
200 GP pair of Silver Candlesticks set with red garnets
Three Scroll Cases of ivory, inlaid with a rampant two-headed griffon in Gold (50 GP Each)
Scroll of Protection from Undead
Scroll of Rope Trick
Scroll of Plant Growth
Scroll of Protection from Evil
A 150 GP Lanceboard of crystal, wood, and gold
3 crystal bottles of exceptional Elven wine, 100 GP each
2 Jars of honey, with unknown magical healing properties. It’ll take a while for these properties to be identified.
3 Potions of Healing
Pancheska kept the silvered Stiletto, and Shalendra’s Magic Armor and Sword for when she returns the elf to her family.
While you are heading to the Firehammer Hold, Shalendra reported to the Floshin family that their mansion and their prodigal daughter are safe (or so they think, as far as the daughter is concerned.) Pancheska took the 1000 GP total reward and, for lack of a better place to put it, thrown it into the business with the hopes that it’ll generate some interest.
Part of this investment went to cover the 680 GP expenses from the previous report. That leaves 320 GP in change as well as what profits they occur below:
The Fountain Guildhouse
The new guildhouse has seen a lot of use in this tenday, especially with the regular meeting with everyone in the Lord’s Alliance. In fact, Neverwinter’s Lord Protector Dagult Neverember, and his wife, Lady Stephanie Alagondar, stayed there and they were quite impressed. The Guildhouse earned 105 GP after expenses.
The Portal Network will take one more tenday to be completely operational
The potion making project in the farm, which the party stayed after the Floshin Estate chapter, ran into a snag right after you left. An infestation of rats nearly overtook the farm, and it took 10 GP to exterminate and dispose of them all. Progress will resume once you enter Firehammer Hold, but it was delayed. A setback, but not the end of things.
The Mangus Scroll
Chou’s local microbrew is bringing everyone to the bar, and there is also a local group who is running a regular tabletop Roleplaying Game every third evening there. The business gained a 100 GP profit.
The whole business at the end of the report has a current bottom line of 8515 GP, after a 320 GP Investment and 195 of Profit.
Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Multiple Parts, Chapter Recaps, Business Reports, Sex-Positive content, and a DM who’s perturbed by unspoken political shit on the media.
I shouldn’t have to remind you of the notice I’ve added on the left side of this web site, do I?
Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff to go through, so I had to split it into three installments. I pretty much had a full week Dungeon Mastering, which is good, because of what happened in San Bernardino (which was bad) and what counted as news in the aftermath (which was just as worse as it was expected. We’ll never have another September 12 where we more or less united as a nation anymore. First chance I see that D&D dark ride, I’m going in it.)
Item: Out of the Abyss, Encounters, Wednesday 2 DEC
Compared to the previous week, things were slow, with just four people. It’s expected, being in the holiday season, to have less people coming to the table over at Hero’s Hideout. Unfortunately, this is during a time where the store itself is having a hard time; the business needed to cut back with some of its inventory (canceling comic books unless the people order it, as well as pulling back available games. I don’t like where this is heading, especially with the possibility of the store closing and me needing to find a new space to set up a local public D&D night.
The party of four managed to get to Entemoch’s Boon, and found out that the basilisks were using that summoning circle as a nest. At least one of those eggs will be kept to hatch, I know it. Meanwhile, I had them meet Grazilaxx, the Society of Brilliance Mind Flayer member, after he had his midnight snack of dead insane drow. He told the party about what happened in the Neverlight Grove: The deep gnomes there managed to gather the supplies they need to ooze-proof the party’s weapons, but at dire cost: The spore malaise that came from the Demon Queen of Fungi, Zuggtmoy, enveloped this unfortunate party and infected them with her madness. They left the stocked up cart for a Shambling Mound to find, who would’ve destroyed it and its contents if the party didn’t arrive to pick it up.
At this point, I can begin the Battle of Blingdenstone at the next session, which will be the closing part of the first half of this campaign…provided that the story stays open for me to actually finish it.
Item: Dreams of the Red Wizards, Thursday 3 DEC
In both of my Roll20 campaigns, I’m running a party that’s in a state of flux; with the constant need for new characters to fill in the needed spots. (I tend to call a session off if I have three or less players. Note to self, make a special three-player event for when I only have my three Encounters mainstays, Bill, Rich, and John, with me.) I’ve kept an open call, and in some cases even a waiting list of new players, some of which join in to find out more about my style and then bowing out for one reason or another. Not that I mind, though; I’m still looking for a steady group to have a running stream anyway. That will still take me a year or two to get. I just hope that this vetting process (and the constant sense that I’m herding cats getting a party together) pass sooner rather than later.
This session ran as slow as my Encounters table, but in this case, it’s because they were in the last room of the Floshin Estate chapter and are en route to Firehammer’s Hold, which they’ll begin in the next session. They managed to defeat Shalendra Floshin, the elf that’s possessed by the demon Baazka, but not completely sever his hold on her. At this point, the party’s succubus ally Pancheska showed up with a cleaning crew of maids dressed like the anime He Is My Master. (I warned you about the Sex-Positive content didn’t I? And Pancheska would be more drawn toward those uniforms than Yoshitaka Nakabayashi will ever be. And yes, before you ask, she has already had orgies with them by now. Succubus, hello?) As her cleanup crew take care of the mess the party has made of the mansion—and insisting that they do not take the mansion for themselves—she discussed the inert, and naked, elf: Bazzka still has a connection to her and can still except control unless the connection is severed. This can be done in two ways at this time. One, take her to the House of the Morning in town for an exorcism. That would be a standard play, but even in her human guise, Pancheska doesn’t like being near that place much. She might not be “Evil” but that’s still a church, after all. And then there’s Option Two: Pencheska could transfer the connection from Bazzka to herself, using her nature as a demon herself. This will only make Shalendra remain a puppet, although to a different master, and might make her become a Succubus herself. How that would happen, of course, would be telling.
At this time, I get word that the party wants to take over the entire Sword Coast, City by City, starting with Daggerford if they could handle it. That gets me worried a bit, not because of the logistical nightmare it would take to usurp the whole Lord’s Alliance (who would team up and stomp my party flat, nonetheless, while Pancheska just laughs at the mortal’s folly. As she takes up control of the related business, of course) but also because I have plans for them. The second part of this campaign is Dead in Thay, which will end with a rather important decision for the party.
But that’s still far ahead in the time stream. The next part of this recap will discuss the business side of the Fountainhead business in Dreams of the Red Wizards, as well as a listing of the haul they have in the Floshin Estate (which Pancheska replaced behind their backs… for reasons.) The recap will close with my Princes of the Apocalypse recap, with a magic item that I brought from my Cybering sessions.
Yes, I’ll be triggering some Modern Feminists with this recap. I advise you to read that notice again.