Dragons in the Dark

S1E14: Thesdi... What Now?

 

Tags: H.A. A.B. E.B. S.B. E.C. L.C. Aranna Weaver, Astrologer Ser Aust Booker, Knight Lane Weaver, Soldier Selina Milos, Assassin Slane Milos, Charlton Squidward Tentacles, Hedge Wizard Octopus Tentacles, Courtier Perrin Juno, Assassin Moulsh Ishlum, Drune Ogo Veretta, Apostle DCC The Emerald Enchanter Joseph Goodman


Spoilers Ahead for Joseph Goodman’s “The Emerald Enchanter” (DCC)

Quick Recap: The Snack Club has travelled to the lair of the Emerald Enchanter near No Ombrulsk, a citadel sitting atop of a barren cliff.

Selina Milos (EC) takes out her spyglass and scopes out the squat building. There are two emerald statues guarding the front gate. Lane Weaver (AB) and Perrin Juno (SB) walks up to examine them further. They come to life and attack! Aranna Weaver (AJ, played by AB), draws an arrow, lets one fly, whirring towards one of the statues. Aust Booker (OR, played by SB) unsheathes his sword, flies into battle. Squidward (HA) hangs back, casts web, it’s enough for him to weave one, but only if he gets up close. He doesn’t. Slane (LC) stays far back as well while Moulsh the Drune (EB) attempts magic missile, but fails, losing the spell for the day.

Perrin slashes one statue, it falls to pieces. Emerald pieces. Lane stabs through the other one, it magically transforms into a human, and utters, “Thesdipedes knows the word…” Moulsh picks up the emerald pieces. Lane considers rappelling down the cliff for some reason (because he has 50’ of rope). Selina and Perrin walk past the front door to look for alternate entrances. They see mosaics of the Emerald Enchanter… battling dragons and demons, reading spell books, inscribing scrolls, consulting ancient mummies, gazing into the crystal bal. No ego at all. The Emerald Enchanter is a humble guy.

This Tile Golem, Brought to you by Rona

Selina and Perrin are on opposite sides of the building, and decide to smash the mosaic and climb through. Meanwhile, Aust and Lane charge and ram themselves into the front door, smashing it open. The Snack Club then enter the entrance main hallway. The mosaics casts twinkling colored lights. But after a few more steps, the mosaics suddenly self-shatter, and the tiles eddies in the air, swirling, whirling and forming the shape of a tile golem!

Lane rushes in to attack. The tile golem smashes down on him, cutting him up. Selina and Perrin see this as an opportunity to sneak behind the golem for a sneak attack! They do, cutting at it for major damage. Aranna lets fly another arrow. Aust flies up with his magic sword (still unnamed after four sessions now? Who doesn’t name their magic sword? If I had a magic sword, I’d named it.) and charges the golem. He plunges right through the tile golem. The Snack Club are doing well, but then… the mosaics shiver and quake and tiles fly off the walls and towards to the golem, rejuvenating him! Worse, he draws another panel of tiles and fires it at Aust, almost knocking him out of the air!

Moulsh rushes in behind Lane, lays his hands on him, praying to his forest gods and healing him. Squidward pulls out his lighting bolt wand and fires it at the golem twice. Aust, Lane and Aranna attack again. Another round of attacks. The tile golem draws in more tiles. The Snack Club are wondering if this golem can be defeated, but they notice there are only so many tiles on the walls. Selina suggests attacking the mosaics. Nobody does this. The golem draws more tiles and creates two four-legged tile-constructs. They nip at Selina and Perrin. Aranna, Aust, and Lane, the main frontline make another concerted attack. The golem falls apart, tiles crashing down everywhere.

Meanwhile, Perrin slashes at the tile-dog behind him, destroying it… while Squidward casts web again, runs up to the other tile-dog and muzzles him with spider web. Lane comes in to mercy kill the tile-dog. The Snack Club are scarred badly. Low on hp, used up wands, lost spells. Selina especially, is suffering from a heightened heart rate. Something’s wrong. Selina feels it, but doesn’t say anything. She finds a secret door, follows the footprints to another secret door. Finds a secret hallway with a peephole. Aranna and Lane follow her. But suddenly, Selina suffers a fatal heart attack and Selina dies. (IRL, EC was smacking AB and I’ve implemented a rule of losing game hp for physically assaulting other PCs IRL. The kids find this funny, and joke they can start hitting each other at 5PM. But they lack self-control and still hit each other before 5pm anyway.)

An Appetizer from this Season’s BBEG

Meanwhile, instead of picking locks, Aust charges another set of double-doors, splintering it wide open. The Snack Club find themselves in a well-appointed foyer. Lush rugs, fancy chairs, candelabras. In front of them a massive slab of emerald on a table flanked by two doors. They wander in, checking out the place, when two flying skulls with bat-wings and ruby eyes float out of the emerald table as if it were a portal, and followed by the EMERALD ENCHANTER. Nobody notices him except Squidward. Squidward has the the initiative. He could cast a spell and do some damage on this ONE villain they’ve been chasing for thirteen episodes now, anything, something, maybe even stab him with his dagger. But instead, Squidward asks, “hey, what are you doing?”

The Emerald Enchanter casts magic missile on Squidward, dealing major damage to him, mutters something to the two skulls, and climbs back into the emerald slab. Vanishing. Perrin and Moulsh quickly figure out that the flying skulls are basically surveillance cameras when they don’t attack or do anything. They simply float there, watching.

Perrin opens up the left door, it’s a long hallway unlike the others in the citadel so far. It’s grey rock, but the rock is… moving. Something is way off here. He doesn’t go in. Moulsh goes to the right door, opens that one. There’s an emerald eidolon staring in his face with a battle-axe. The green monster smashes his axe down, missing Moulsh by a hair. Moulsh turns, runs, provokes another attack. It nicks him. Lane steps forward and jams his sword into the eidolon. It damages him severely. It’s on its knees. Aust comes flying through and destroys it. It reverts to human form, and pleads with his dying breath, “Ask Thesdipedes to save my wife…”

The Snack Club theorize who Thesdipedes is. It goes nowhere.

They then walk into a library with eight bookstands. Two of them have huge tomes on them. As soon as someone walks near the tome, it vanishes and appears on another stand. The Snack Club chase these books for a couple of rounds when they realize they can “guard” each of the eight bookstands and grab the book. They grab one. It’s the blueprints of the Emerald Enchanter. It reveals his diagrams and notes for building huge vats of transmogrification. They are complex machines where he takes humans and turn them into emerald eidolons. There are notes of failed experiments. They also find a spell scroll, speak with the dead and give it to Squidward.

It is at this point that Lane and Selina (her death was retconned to an earlier scene for narrative purposes) discuss killing Moulsh after this adventure is over… openly. Obviously, Moulsh hears this and being a traitor to his Dolmenwood Drunes already… realizes he’s got nowhere to go even if he takes down the Emerald Enchanter. He sneaks off, threatened and alone.

Let’s Spend an Hour Not Playing D&D

At this point, because Moulsh left the party, and Selina “committed suicide” by hitting AB IRL multiple times… effectively bringing herself to zero hp… EB and EC spend some times rolling up characters while AB shares gossip from the complex and I tune out. This goes on for a while, I take a break, and they’re still goofing off when I come back. I shrug.

Finally, Ogo Veretta (EB), a failed experiment of the Emerald Enchanter with a cube head, slit nostrils and one eye… wanders into the library hearing noises. Lane draws his sword. They talk. They find out Ogo was once an apostle of the Gods of Trouble before he was abducted by the Emerald Enchanter and turned into the disfigured, misshapen character he is now. Shortly thereafter, Octopus Tentacles (EC), a loyal courtier to the Juno family rushes into the library… having tracked down Perrin to give him a message. It’s never discussed what this message is. But wow. Octopus is better than Fedex. She will walk into dangerous citadels and death and destruction to deliver her messages!

And Back to Dungeon Crawling Mode

The Snack Club carry on. They leave the library. Perrin points out that they didn’t capture the second tome. I agree. They forget in the midst of conversation. I ask them at least three times, “so you’re leaving the library?”. They don’t pick up on the clue. They leave. They find a lounge with frame paintings. They leave that room, head up the hallways. And at this point, they decide to take care of the spying flying skulls. Aranna shoots one down. Perrin shoots another, misses. Aust flies up and bats it. Lane finishes it off. Both fall to the ground and shatters. The Snack Club just gave Big Brother a piece of their mind.

Down the hall they go. There’s a pit trap. Ogo jumps it. Octopus tries as well, but falls into the spikes, taking serious damage. Ogo drops down rope to help Octopus up. Aust flies across. The Snack Club comes up with various ideas on how else to get people across. Some think of using planar step. Perrin tells Aust to carry rope, fly up and hold it so everyone else can swing across. It’s ingenious. That’s what D&D is about, everyone! Creative solutions. You can’t do this in a video game! It combined Aust’s magic sword, a mundane item, and creative use of both.

Up the hallway they go. There’s a door. It opens into… the other end of the weird scary hallway with the moving rock. Ogo knows this is the right way, but doesn’t know why due to brain damage from being experimented on by the Emerald Enchanter. Aranna walks into the hallway to search for secret doors. The moving rock forms into a face and a claw and it slashes at her. She runs back into the safe NOT-moving hallway. The Snack Club tie a rope around Lane so they can yank him back. He goes in, looks for a secret door. Fails. Gets clawed at and yanked back. Tries again. The Snack Club send Perrin in to search. In goes Perrin, he finds the secret door, pushes it open, sneaks on in. Now everyone else has to run through the gauntlet and avoid getting snagged by rock hands.

I’m going to do a short retcon right now and if you’re reading this, Snack Club, another two flying skulls are following you again.

They make it through, worse for wear. They find four barracks rooms. They wander about and find a secret door. Everyone’s hp is super low now. I’m surprised they haven’t left. But they also realize they have to get past the scary hallway and the spiked pit to get back now. At this point, Lane suggests planar step. No matter though, they found a secret room and go in.

The Best Teachers Are Dead Wizards

There’s a corpse, a brain-in-a-jar and a skull. The brain-in-a-jar has a plaque on it named Istrobian. It can talk! It reveals that it was once a great illusionist. Perrin and Lane argue about who should take the brain-in-a-jar home. They ask Istrobian if they know anything about the Emerald Enchanter other than the fact that it was put there by him. Istrobian tells them to talk to the corpse. The Corpse has a plaque too. It’s Thesdipedes! He too, can talk. Thesdipedes reveals that he was once a great transmogrifier and has experimented on a great many creatures. The Emerald Enchanter had exhumed his body and placed him here along with the other two great wizards to consult with. He also reveals a secret word in which, when spoken and cast, along with a little blood sacrifice causes ALL transmogrified beings to revert to their original form.

Lane then spends several rounds casting vitality on all his team mates. Everyone is healed up. I roll the random encounter dice multiple times. No ones. Shame. The Snack Club debate whether to still leave the citadel now that everyone is healed up. The ones who want to stay say, all we have to do is go upstairs, kill the Emerald Enchanter and we can leave. Why leave now? Of course. It’s so easy. Just head upstairs and kill the BBEG. Why not?

And then, the Snack Club decide to steal Istrobian, the brain-in-a-jar, and Thesdipedes, the talking corpose of the transmogrifier and bring it back to Willowby Hall. Lane’s reasoning is to prevent the Emerald Enchanter from learning more stuff… but he also wants to build vats and transmogrify his own army of emerald eidolens. Perrin thinks this is immoral as you have to sacrifice living beings. Lane says, so what?

But in order to get himself and this dead wizard out of here, he has to cast planar step with great sacrifice. He spellburns six ability points and with his intelligence bonus brings the necessary roll down to 8 or above. It’s one of those moments in D&D where a bad roll can mean all the sacrifice will have been for nothing.

AB picks up his die, rolls it inside his closed palms, says a little prayer (he doesn’t, but it sounds good here), and it tumbles into the dice tray, for a… 9! Lane Weaver draws a magic circle on the floor of the secret room. I ask if the entire party is leaving. The party says no. They’re going to finish the quest. Only Lane is leaving with the two wizards body parts. Lane walks into his magic circle and teleports three miles outside of Willowby Hall, a dead body slung over his shoulder and a brain-in-a-jar under his other arm. Imagine anyone who saw this guy walking around like this.

A Menagerie of Mutated Beasts (+One Alien)

The Snack Club keep going. They come across three cages. One has two overgrown tigers with rubies on their forehead. Naturally, SB plays Aust as he would, and walks up, “asking if they’d like to be his pet.” The two cats claw him and fires lasers out of their rubies, burning Aust badly. He runs back around the corner. He tries to talk to them further. Aust asks if they’d attack again if they tried to free them. The two big cats make vague promises about not doing that. SB doesn’t want to kill Aust so he lingers behind the corner, unsure if they’re trustworthy. Meanwhile, Octopus just decides to walk past the cage to check out the second one. The cats don’t do nothing. The second cage is a giant topaz snake. It ignores Octopus. She calls Aust over. He asks if the snake would like to be free and how he can help free it. The snake tells them to go down the hallway. The snake has seen the Emerald Enchanter unlock something down there.

Slane examines the cages and sees that there are no locks to pick, but a mechanism where the bars slide downwards. Octopus wanders to the third cage. It’s a weird gelatinous mass with a central orb. Protruding from the orb are pseudopods. Octopus talks to the alien creature. It asks her “What is the meaning of life?”. The Snack Club is confused. They try to focus the alien on how they can free it. It too points it down the hallway. Octopus goes down the hallway, sees a door, opens it. It triggers the cage bars to slide downwards.

The tigers and snake rush out. The snake attacks Perrin. Why?! Cries Perrin. “Because I’m a snake!” retorts the topaz snake. The two tigers fire lasers at the snake and tells the Snack Club, “that’s our repayment for freeing us. Goodbye!” The tigers leave. Perrin, Aranna, and Slane hack at the snake. Ogo casts paralysis on the snake. Perrin makes the killing blow.

And that’s the end of this session, with Lane back in Willowby Hall healing up from his spellburn, while the rest of the Snack Club proceed to fight the Emerald Enchanter.

/end session on the Year of the Worm, Month of the Wolf, Day of the Catamount

The Snack Club’s Portfolio

Stored in Wyrmskull Vault
(Opened Year of the Worm, Month of the Eagle, Day of the Fox)

  • 19 Ice Necklaces x 200gp = 3,800gp
  • 12 Ice Jewels x 150gp = 1,800gp
  • Chest of Gold from Hole in Oak = 1,994gp
  • 5 Opal x 200gp =1,000gp
  • 1 Ruby x 800gp = 800 gp
  • 6 Golden Rings x 200 gp = 1,200gp
  • 1 Garnet Earrings = 142gp
  • Skull with Ruby Eyes = 1,600gp
  • Diamond = 463gp
  • 100 Emeralds x 10gp = 1,000gp
  • Petty Cash = 4,162gp
  • Tavern Income = 1,260gp

SUBTOTAL: 18,862gp

Hidden Cache in Great Forest b/w Mlurg Nar & Gnamph Nar
610gp

TOTAL: 19,472gp

The Snack Club’s Real Estate

  • Willowby Hall (Mansion in Ool Krut)
  • Dragons in the Dark (Tavern in Ool Krut)
    • Y.Worm/M.Badger = +1,260gp

Chekhov’s Ticking Time Bombs

NEW

  • Nothing new this week. The Snack Club are in the thick of dealing with the Emerald Enchanter. The BBEG we’ve been building up to for 13 sessions now.

OLD

  • Emma Frog is dead, but her infamous mass prison break in Ilthmar will have consequences.
  • The Redclaws are allied with the Dolmenwood Drunes and HQ at Redclaw Castle
  • Who is the Weaver ancestor, “Ivrian the Unkind” and did she achieve immortality?

DM Notes to Myself

What a huge difference from last week. The Snack Club spent this week’s session threatening their own teammates, doing silly things that drained their hp, and rolling up new characters while having tons of side conversations about non-D&D stuff. I can’t imagine what they’ll do when they finally meet the Emerald Enchanter. TPK, perhaps? We’ll see next week!