The Mongoose & Meerkat Theory Post

Ever since I first read one of the ‘Mongoose & Meerkat’ stories, I have been trying to figure out who the Meerkat is. “Mongoose” and “Meerkat” are not their names, but kind of an adventuring identity thing to make them more memorable to employers. The names they give are Kat and Mangos, which is how I will refer to them in the rest of this post.

The lady on the left is Kat (the Meerkat) and the man on the right is Mangos (the Mongoose). Art by DarkFilly.

Everything in this post will come from the first volume of their adventures. There are three planned volumes and we will see if my theory is true. Here is the theory:

Kat is the princess of the fallen kingdom of Alness and is seeking wealth and magical artifacts so that she can take back the throne.

The very first hint comes from a feature of the stories. Before the story begins, there is a statement relating how long after the fall of Alness that the story occurs. At first, you might think this is a clever way to help the reader make sure they read the stories in proper order, but let’s take a look at the very first statement as listed on the very first story, ‘The Battlefield of Keres’.

Two months after the fall of Alness (not that Mangos cares.)

Mangos doesn’t care… but what about Kat? Does she care?

Furthermore, the story opens with Mangos alone in a bar and he meets Kat for the first time. When she is introduced, she clearly has knowledge of the upper class and history, whereas Mangos is shown as a typical street-smart strong adventuring guy. Why is this seemingly well-educated woman hanging out in a scummy bar? She says many things in each story that prove that she is well-educated and I will not mention each one, but in a medieval-esque fantasy world, what women are most likely to have a broad education? Nobility.

The next hint in this story is that Mangos sees that Kat is beautiful, but it is described as follows

It was like turning around and finding your sister all grown up.

What an odd choice of words. This strange woman is beautiful, but was like a sister? Normally, a man like Mangos would see a beautiful woman in the bar and try to hit on her. But if he views her as a sister, he will want to protect her and NOT seduce her.

Then, Mangos tries to ask her some questions about her past and she does not answer them. He is impressed by her knowledge of many things and cannot figure out how she knows so much about so many topics. She clearly is both book-smart AND street-smart. In fact, she can read.

The next story ‘Brandy and Dye’ brings up Kat’s attractiveness again with this quote:

…men always acknowledged her beauty but never showed any desire.

At this point, I assume she has a magic spell cast upon her or a magical artifact that allows men to acknowledge her beauty (and be extra nice to her as men often are to beautiful women) without the downsides (everyone constantly hitting on her). Who could afford that kind of magic and who would need that kind of a magic? A princess on the run? Or before she was on the run, perhaps her father had it cast upon her so that she could maintain her virtue before being married off to another kingdom?

‘The Sword of the Mongoose’ has a subtle hint when the pair come across some refugees on the road. Once Kat realizes that there is an Alnessi refugee among the refugees, she raises her hood. Why does seeing an Alnessi refugee make Kat want to hide her face?

In ‘The Valley of Terzol’, it is explicitly stated where Mangos is from. Why not Kat?

He was used to Kat’s mysterious background. When they first met she looked so haggard he thought her an escaped slave. Later when he discovered she could fight, he revised his opinion to escaped gladiatrix. Still later, as she haggled over supplies, he thought perhaps a merchant’s guard. Now that he had seen her learning on several subjects, he admitted he didn’t know what to think.

In this story, more is made of Kat’s learning than any other so far. She knows her history and can read an old language of an empire that fell 350 years ago. At the end of the story, the pair find a bunch of emeralds and Kat states that she will use part of her share to buy an army. What does she need an army for? She does not explain and Mangos does not ask.

In ‘The Burning Fish’, other than a mention that she can read the old language of the empire mentioned in the previous story (something that is clearly somewhat rare), I did not find much in the way of further proof of my theory.

Finally, ‘Deathwater’ does not feature Mangos or Kat at all! But I believe it is in the same world and it confirms that the rich can afford to have powerful magics cast upon them.

[UPDATE: The author has confirmed that ‘Deathwater’ does NOT take place in the same world. I don’t think my theory suffers at all from this, because the bulk of the proof is in the Mongoose and Meerkat stories.]

For those that have read the stories, is my theory sound? Do you have your own theory or proof that contradicts mine? Let me know!


The Kickstarter for the second volume, which will hopefully include more proof of my theory, is going on for a couple more days. Back it now! These stories are great fun!

Let’s Look At Two Modules That Are Too Hot for DriveThruRPG

Let’s look at two modules today. Both have been removed from DriveThruRPG shortly after being posted, so let’s see what they don’t want you to see.

The first is ‘The Good Syma’arian’.

Not subtle at all

The module opens with a quick mention of Roe vs. Wade, the famous U.S. Supreme Court case that somehow found that the murder of innocent babies was somehow in the U.S. Constitution. That should give you a hint of some of the themes of this module. I am happy to report that the murder of babies is considered a bad thing in this module.

It is a short little side diversion that your party can do in an evening. This adventure also highlights something about Venger’s adventures that I don’t think I have mentioned before. It is clear he is well-read and is more than a guy who peddles adventures with a little smuttiness in them. I would also point out it is easy to remove the smuttiness for your own game if you are a prude like me.

The next module is ‘Rainbow Crystal Utopia’.

This one is a bit longer and might take a couple of sessions to complete. A bunch of rainbow folk live in a cave and most of them are wild and unhinged. Each color of people have their own unique strengths and quirks about them, so fighting a yellow person or a red person are two different experiences.

The party is told of great artifacts within that can lead people to the promised land. I don’t know about you, but I would be tempted to risk life and limb for a chance at that! Page 9 contains what may be the greatest random table for an NPC that I have ever seen. You roll 3d12 to determine the character’s neo-pronoun, gender, and vibe. I just rolled on it and created a human being whose pronoun is Throat-Wobbler Mangrov. The gender is Masculine-of-Center and the vibe is self-loathing. I can imagine this person blocking me on Twitter right now!

In both modules, the parallels to today are obvious and unsubtle. It is strange, but the weirdness shows the ridiculous world we live in all the clearer. These adventures are political, but there is fun to be had. It’s not just preachy nonsense!

Once again, these modules show off Venger’s unlimited creativity with weird effects, odd items, and memorable images. The caravan of pregnant woman and people with small kids going to sacrifice their children to a demon is horrifying and scarred into my memory. And there is a “Rainbow Witch” with a spellbook written in crayon. BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS!

One thing I have always appreciated about Venger’s work is his wild, unbridled creativity. It’s on full display here and even if you don’t intend to run these adventures, there is something in them that can be pulled out and used in your game. His work is a goldmine of great ideas and they are all on display here!

The latest information on these modules can be found at Venger’s blog. If they are available again on DriveThruRPG, I am sure he will announce it. Otherwise, you can find his contact information there.

***

I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I should be able to start blogging more again. Life… happens.

How to Get All the Mortu & Kyrus Stories

Mr. Hernstrom’s work is wonderful!

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Okay, you know you need to get in on this.

We’re talking about Sky Hernstrom’s phenomenal Mortu & Kyrus stories. In a nutshell, these are pretty much in the spirit of Fafhrd & The Grey Mouser but dropped into The Dying Earth and written by Robert E. Howard. All those years where I said, “don’t read anything before 1980”?? All those times I felt that NOBODY was able to write anything even half as good as what I came across doing Appendix N?

I was wrong.

This is it. These are the stories people are raving over. AND YOU NEED TO HAVE THEM ALL. Here’s how to get them:

  1. Pick up The Eye of Sounnu from DMR Books. This volume has the very first Mortu & Kyrus story in it, “Mortu and Kyrus and the White City”.
  2. Grab The Penultimate Men from Pilum Press. This volume has the second Mortu…

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Least of the #BROSR

For those of you who look at Twitter far too much and you are in some of the same circles I am, you have probably see posts about the #BROSR. Somehow, a bunch of bros posting jokes and session reports is influencing conversations about tabletop RPGS. There are even #BROSR haters!

If you don’t know, a quick description can be found here:

https://twitter.com/DanielJWrites/status/1504932176940384259

A description I would offer is gaming that is dedicated to the rules in the rulebook (playing rules-as-written, RAW) and not taking worldbuilding seriously. #BROSR campaigns tend to have lots of jokes and joke characters (a city whose economy is based on trollops, swolecerors, references to pulpy action literature, and more professional wrestling gifs than you can shake a bottle of steroids at), but they are deadly serious with the rules and their interpretation. Other than the core rulebooks, the #BROSR does not need endless supplements or adventure modules. Players, Game Masters, and even Patrons work together to play the game, CHANGE THE STATUS QUO OF THE GAME WORLD*, and decide the next course of action. It is a high trust way to game!

Contrast this with a lot of other tabletop gaming (even in the OSR!) that goes the opposite. Rules are not taking seriously (not tracking time, food, encumbrance, etc), but the worldbuilding is deadly serious, with pages and pages on nations in the world, full descriptions of pantheons, etc. This kind of gaming often requires more supplements and premade adventures and, unfortunately, is full of people who do not trust each other to keep the game going. Thus the need to buy more supplements.

Before I go any further, I cannot forget to say the name of Jeffro Johnson. He is, perhaps, the biggest name in the #BROSR and the biggest proponent of its ideals. HIs legendary Trollopulous campaign (which I have participated in a little bit) is legendary and still ongoing!

This is what I assume Gary would say if he saw the modern state of the OSR


My own campaign, which has only run for 3 years, pre-dates the #BROSR and there are still some things I do wrong. I don’t have 1-to-1 time, I still roll full hp for 1st level characters, and there are rules I routinely forget or mess up. I am the least of the #BROSR.

Yet, I have not been exiled from the #BROSR. They still allow me to be a part of it all. I can’t say precisely why, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that I am improving.

Movie montages lied to you.

Change is hard, but it comes bit by bit, not all at once. You must put in the work.

Having men around you who push you to do better is critical. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “iron sharpens iron”. I am telling you that you can do better. Clear those pronouns from your bio, email signature, and button you wear on your shirt. Then, study that rulebook! Implement rules as needed. I like physical books, but pdfs can be great, too. searching them for a specific word or spell name can save a lot of hassle!

Strict timekeeping with in-game time, even with pausing between sessions is huge. Because we have started tracking rations, last night, the players had to make a decision about where to go. Their resources directed them to make a certain decision. Instead of just wandering off to explore, they went back to town, bought a bunch of food and discovered some rumors that will now change what they want to do.

Embrace the principles of the #BROSR, even if you don’t play AD&D or ACKS. Your game will improve… and so will you.


* This probably deserves its own blog post

Half-Shares Are A Pain To Calculate

THE PARTY

Cleavus Rickshaw – Florida Man 1 – Has a rickshaw he carts his possessions around in. Has 3 Charisma.

Lubabrowfrow – Thief 1 – Rumor has it that I pronounced the character’s name correctly once.

Wyldstyle – Bard 1 – Likes edgy high-school-girl-goth-poetry.

François de la Croix – Explorer 1 – High Charisma. Wants to find what happened to his brother Louis.

Charlie – Paladin 1 – Henchman. Paladin of the Whey. Super jacked.

Horatio – Mage 1 – Henchman. Is the smartest and most handsome man in the world (other than the humble proprietor of this blog).

Jimspector – Cleric 1 – Henchman. Only gets a half share of treasure / xp.

Poss-Poss – Werepossum – Henchpossum.

THE SESSION

Once again, Cleavus was not available.

The party is still exploring a dungeon that is rumored to have a siren in it. They intend to sell the siren’s vocal cords to a witch.

HEROICS!

The party got pretty lucky on reaction rolls all night. I suppose they have been practicing their #DiceControl in their spare time. I may need to start playing #Skyclad to counteract their power.

In the dungeon, they stumbled across a Red Sonja cosplayer, who named herself Scarlet. She had a couple of Mongol henchmen around her and requested that they help her kill a siren who took over the minds of the rest of her henchmen. A little negotiation later, the party agreed to do so for 50% of any treasure found in the siren’s chamber. Things almost came to a fight when one of my players declared that his favored enemy was “Obvious Cosplayers”, but I think that was more of a real-life thing than in-game thing.

By the way, it was a little tricky finding a safe-for-work picture of a siren online to use as a token in Roll20. Some things, you just shouldn’t search, even with “Safe Search” on.

Scarlet leads them through the dungeon and brings to the room with the Mad King, Spazz Maticus. The Mad King believes the following things:

1. That he is the rightful king of Long Florida
2. By exploring the dungeon, he can gain gold to fund an army to take over Long Florida
3. That women are not repulsed by him

This is what I look like IRL.

The Mad King loves Scarlet and wants her to be his queen. She is not interested in him (at this point, any way). Theparty bard, tells the Mad King her name is Nightrayne (which is false) and seduces him. Nothing explicit, just flirting with him until he falls in love with her instead of Scarlet. If my memory is correct, she agrees to be his queen once he proves himself by taking over Long Florida. He goes off to try and get more gold and the party moves closer to the chamber with the siren.

Before entering, the party instructs Horatio to stick half a Slim Jim in each ear to prevent him from hearing the siren’s song. The rest of the party sticks cloth in their ears. Why they asked Horatio to stick a Slim Jim in each ear is beyond me.

Players, man.

For their foresight, I gave everyone a bonus to saves vs. the siren’s song. It came in handy!

The burst in the chamber and the siren-song-brainwashed Mongol henchmen attacked. The werepossum was instantly reduced to 1/4 hp, so the party yelled out to “Play dead!”

As a GM, this was one of those moments where I appreciated my players more than I can properly express. This is one of those moments that storygaming GMs would KILL for. They took the world as it was and interacted with it. They thought carefully about what certain aspects of the world meant. It brought a small bit of warmth to my cold, black heart.

Of course a werepossum would do things a normal possum would! I had not even considered that when I created the werepossum character. It was the furthest thing from my mind. But the players thought through the implications of a werepossum more than I did!

So you better believe that werepossum hit the ground in the most epic death scene since Lo Pan’s.

The siren’s tactics were to use the siren-song-brainwashed Mongols to hold the party back while she sang. Due to the blockages in their ears, the party made EVERY SINGLE SAVING THROW against her song. She must have sang as well as I do.

This is how well I sing in real life

The party wounded the siren-song-brainwashed Mongols but did not kill them. A few arrows took the siren down and Scarlet now had her full retinue of Mongols with her. The party split the treasure with her as promised (party got some real fur coats, that’s cruel) and went their separate ways with one player complaining that they didn’t find any real green dresses.

Unsure how to retrieve the vocal cords from the siren, they just hacked off her torso and carried it with them back to the witch’s hut (with yet another stop to leave the Paladin with his girlfriend). Random encounter rolls were coming up nothing all night, so no crazy encounters along the way.

The witch gladly received the torso, ripped it open, and retrieved the vocal cords. With her hands still dripping with siren blood, she handed the party a sack with the agreed upon gold inside.

Back to town and to the bank! The party asks the banker to change most of their gold into gems.

“Gems? That is outrageous! Truly, truly outrageous!” the banker yelled, but in the end he acquiesced to their demand. Yes, I amuse myself with NPCs.

And, ever since the big TPK with the meth dragon, we finally have a character level up! Lubabrowfrow is now a Level 2 Thief. Everyone in the party used to get full shares. That was easy to calculate. Now, Jimspector only gets a half share. And he is the only one who gets a half share. This is annoying to calculate and I took far too long to do it. Probably should have taken some advanced math classes in university.

The session ended a little early due to real life commitments, but it was a good session. Not sure what the party intends to do next session, but that’s half the joy of being a GM!

Alexa, this is so outrageous, play the “Jem and the Holograms Theme Song”

THE GRAVEYARD

Honest Ivan – Venturer 1 – Shot through the heart by a goblin arrow – Died in session played on the 7th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

TORDEK, SON OF TORDEK – Dwarven Vaultguard 1 – Poison needle trap on the door – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Leopold – Pig – Bitten by a fire beetle – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Snookums – Thief 1 -??? – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Ralphina – Anti-Paladin 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Louis de la Croix – Shaman 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Attheu – Elven Enchanter 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Fake Snookums – Thief 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Eltina Joan – Bladedancer 1 – Drowned by water-logged zombie / decapacitated by the party – Died in session played on the 19th of December in the year of Our Lord 2021.

“Let’s Talk About Flamethrowers”

THE PARTY

Cleavus Rickshaw – Florida Man 1 – Has a rickshaw he carts his possessions around in. Has 3 Charisma.

Lubabrowfrow – Thief 1 – Rumor has it that I pronounced the character’s name correctly once.

Wyldstyle – Bard 1 – Likes edgy high-school-girl-goth-poetry.

François de la Croix – Explorer 1 – High Charisma. Wants to find what happened to his brother Louis.

Charlie – Paladin 1 – Henchman. Paladin of the Whey. Super jacked.

Horatio – Mage 1 – Henchman. Is the smartest and most handsome man in the world (other than the humble proprietor of this blog).

THE SESSION

I should be more consistent on when I post these writeups.

Unfortunately, Cleavus was passed out drunk (again… or for those in the know, agane), so he was not present for the session.

The session picked up in the swamp dungeon, where the party hopes to find a siren. Then, they will kill her and cut out her vocal cords to give them to a witch for gold. Just wholesome adventurers being wholesome.

We also do some cooperative worldbuilding at the table. When Charlie the Paladin joined the party, I envisioned that he was a Paladin of The Way (The Way is a misremembered Christianity). The party heard Paladin of the Whey. I ran with that. It makes him a more memorable character in the eyes of the players and it adds to the overall weirdness of the world. He is a paladin of a sort-of offshoot faith that is all about GOING TO THE GYM, BROTHER. Saint Hanz and Saint Franz watch over him.

When he uses his “Lay on Hands” ability, he covers his hands in whey powder first, similar to the way gymnasts and weightlifters cover their hands in the white chalky powder before they attempt something big. So that’s what a little table chatter can get you. Something memorable that doesn’t involve half-elf, half-demon, half-dragon panfluidgender sodomites!

Male Hand Powder Holding Barbell Weightlifting Stock Photo (Edit Now) 511871215
I am too cheap to actually buy the photo, so enjoy the watermark.

The ACKS ‘Mortal Wounds’ table is so much fun to roll on, but the results can be either absolutely perfect (such as when a monster bit off the genitals of a naked Florida Man) or bizarre. The henchman wizard Horatio set off a trap, which was a blade that came down from the ceiling. He was dropped to zero, but once revived, the roll on the table said… one of his eyes was lost.

H-how?

Oh well, they rolled with it. Through some combat that didn’t go as well as planned, the Thief’s legs were injured so much, he was referred to as “Tiny Tim”.

A trip back to the witch was in order (after a quick stop to drop off Charlie to visit his new girlfriend… can’t have him know that the party is consorting with a witch!). The dice were in the party’s favor, because they were not harassed by any random encounters.

For a hefty sum of gold, she healed the terrible wounds the party suffered, and for a little extra gold, the party asked her to change Horatio’s eye when she regrew it. They want him to see his own imperfections with it.

While in town, two new people were hired. The first was a were-possum. Because why not? I hadn’t thought of a name yet, so it was decided to name him Poss-Poss. (I just used the were-rat stats and called it a were-possum. It’ll be our little secret.)

The second was a cleric named Jimspector. God told him to inspect all the Slim Jims, but the convenience store wasn’t having it. Nor was the local sheriff. The sheriff agreed to release Jimspector into their custody, because he has a sneaking suspicion that this troublemaker will no longer cause trouble for the town if he is dead.


The session ended with everyone back at the dungeon. Who knows what next week will bring? Have a Happy New Year!

THE GRAVEYARD

Honest Ivan – Venturer 1 – Shot through the heart by a goblin arrow – Died in session played on the 7th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

TORDEK, SON OF TORDEK – Dwarven Vaultguard 1 – Poison needle trap on the door – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Leopold – Pig – Bitten by a fire beetle – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Snookums – Thief 1 -??? – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Ralphina – Anti-Paladin 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Louis de la Croix – Shaman 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Attheu – Elven Enchanter 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Fake Snookums – Thief 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Eltina Joan – Bladedancer 1 – Drowned by water-logged zombie / decapacitated by the party – Died in session played on the 19th of December in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Decapitation As First Aid

THE PARTY

Cleavus Rickshaw – Florida Man 1 – Has a rickshaw he carts his possessions around in. Has 3 Charisma.

Lubabrowfrow – Thief 1 – Rumor has it that I pronounced the character’s name correctly once.

Wyldstyle – Bard 1 – Likes edgy high-school-girl-goth-poetry.

François de la Croix – Explorer 1 – High Charisma. Wants to find what happened to his brother Louis.

Charlie – Paladin 1 – Henchman. Paladin of the Whey. Super jacked.

Eltina Joan – Bladedancer 1 – Henchwoman. No spells yet, so she is treated as expendable.

Horatio – Mage 1 – Henchman. Is the smartest and most handsome man in the world (other than the humble proprietor of this blog).

THE SESSION

Something I neglected to mention last time was the rumor-giver who gave the rumor about her cousin getting kidnapped by a Skunk Ape promised Cleavus that she would go on a date with him if he brought the cousin back. This was convenient because Cleavus’s player was not available this session.

Well, the party rescued the cousin, so they took her back to town. Looking over the list of rumors, they saw one about witches. Looking at the one-armed Horatio, they decided to visit a witch to see if she could re-attach his arm.

Totally a trustworthy person to perform life-saving magic.

Of course, the witch lives outside town. And, of course, the religious townspeople generally don’t like witches. So, the party decided to visit the witch while Cleavus was on his date with the rumor-giver. And, since they have a Paladin with them, they sent the Paladin on a date with the rescued cousin at the same time. A double-date!

Now, they can visit the witch in peace. She agrees to re-attach Horatio’s arm for 500 gp or if the party brings her some children (or a tied up priest). They pay the gold.

A day later, they return and Horatio is right as rain. His arm is re-attached and he is ready to adventure. There will no lasting consequences from this. 😉

The party asks the witch if she has need of anything (other than children and priests).

She states that she would pay for the following items:

Siren vocal cords (300 gp each)
Venom sacs from venomous animals (300 gp each)
Manatee brains (1,000 gp each)

Now, as every Floridian knows, YOU DO NOT MESS WITH MANATEES. Perhaps you feed them some lettuce, but you do not harass or kill them. Even the most meth-addled Florida Man knows better than to harm a manatee!

The party follows up on a tip from the witch about a dungeon that may have sirens in it. Remember, Cleavus and Charlie, their two biggest and beefiest party members are not with them. I guess the dates were pretty successful. I will reveal what happened the next time Cleavus is part of the session.

They buy some local maps (to get a bonus on Navigation checks through the swamp) and set out for the dungeon that allegedly has sirens in it. Along the way, the party came upon some Branch Floridians around a bloody altar. Raftborne ballistae made short work of them. Among the dead, a treasure map was found. At this time, the party has not gone after the treasure, but went straight into the dungeon..

The first thing they encountered upon entering the dungeon were three water-logged zombies. The bladedancer tried to turn them, but failed spectacularly. They advanced on the party and bite Eltina Joan. Water dribbled out of her mouth and she fell to the ground. The zombie munched on her drowning body and the party desperately fought them off.

At the end of combat, they approached Eltina’s body and, due to fear that she would rise as a zombie, cut her head off. As one player pointed out, that is an interesting way of performing first aid. The surviving party left the dungeon and spent a couple nights on their rafts to heal up naturally. During one night, a meth’d up wild boar came by. Using the wilderness escape rules, the party successfully got away (Explorers are a great class because they give a bonus to the escape roll).

The more I play ACKS, the more I learn about its systems and the way everything works together. It’s a wonderful system.

Before the session ended, the party went back down into the dungeon and came across more Branch Floridians. With a great reaction roll and playing it cool, a fight was avoided. The party mentioned that they found an altar surrounded by bodies of other Branch Floridians (they conveniently neglected to mention how those Branch Floridians died) and buried the bodies.

When asked if the burial was proper and the hands of the dead collected, the party responded that they gave the hands to some other Branch Floridians. The group in the dungeon was relieved that the hands of the dead cultists were given to the cult, so they could clap for the Judicious Ecstasy Bringer forever.

Inventing a fake religion is weird, man. How did L. Ron Hubbard do it with a straight face?

In a surprising turn of events, the party let the cultists go; they let them walk out. Or, as a player said, “We’ll let them guac out.”

Alexa, these puns are out of control. Play “The Seer’s Tower” by Sufjan Stevens from his Illinois album .

THE GRAVEYARD

Honest Ivan – Venturer 1 – Shot through the heart by a goblin arrow – Died in session played on the 7th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

TORDEK, SON OF TORDEK – Dwarven Vaultguard 1 – Poison needle trap on the door – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Leopold – Pig – Bitten by a fire beetle – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Snookums – Thief 1 -??? – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Ralphina – Anti-Paladin 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Louis de la Croix – Shaman 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Attheu – Elven Enchanter 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Fake Snookums – Thief 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Eltina Joan – Bladedancer 1 – Drowned by water-logged zombie / decapacitated by the party – Died in session played on the 19th of December in the year of Our Lord 2021.

From Ballistas to Battlerafts

THE PARTY

Cleavus Rickshaw – Florida Man 1 – Has a rickshaw he carts his possessions around in. Has 3 Charisma.

Lubabrowfrow – Thief 1 – Rumor has it that I pronounced the character’s name correctly once.

Wyldstyle – Bard 1 – Likes edgy high-school-girl-goth-poetry.

François de la Croix – Explorer 1 – High Charisma. Wants to find what happened to his brother Louis.

Charlie – Paladin 1 – Henchman. Paladin of the Whey. Super jacked.

Eltina Joan – Bladedancer 1 – Henchwoman. No spells yet, so she is treated as expendable.

Horatio – Mage 1 – Henchman. Is the smartest and most handsome man in the world (other than the humble proprietor of this blog).

THE SESSION

The session began with the player playing Cleavus asking how Cleavus could figure out if his magic, slightly-glowing sword is cursed. (It is. He gets -1 to hit and damage.) The other players suggests that the mage, Horatio, take a look at it.

Horatio looks at it and after some experimentation, came to the conclusion that the sword was cursed. Unfortunately, he could not communicate this fact to the 5 Intelligence Cleavus. The Florida Man refused to believe what the self-proclaimed smartest and most handsome man said. So he’s still got a cursed sword!

Then the party decieded to abandon clearing the the rest of the dungeon for the merchant. They took their gold and went to town. While in town, some ideas were thrown out.

First idea was to buy a light repeating ballista and hail it into the dungeon. It is heavy, but if they plan well and are able to funnel monsters into hallways for the slaughter, it could work.

It’s only 200 gp!!!

But then someone (I forgot to note who said it) suggested buying a raft, putting the light repeating ballista on a raft and travel through the swamp. Then someone else suggesting buying two rafts and connecting them with a hinge-like thing. You know, like those cheap snake toys.

This snake toy.

After spending quite a bit of their gathered gold, they have two rafts with a hinge to let them navigate the swamps and two light repeating ballistae. They left the town of Swampton and headed off to Jackonsville. Along the way, I rolled a random encounter with some Flamingolems.

Flamingolems are those tacky plastic yard flamingos that a mad wizard animated and now yearn for the organs of the living to fill their hollow insides. The ballistae did some damage, but the Flamingolems attacked the rafts and managed to drop Horatio in a single bite.

After a pitched battle, the party defeated the monsters and revived Horatio. I rolled on the ‘Mortal Wounds’ table and well… the Flamingolem bit off Horatio’s arm. His perfect body has been marred!

Cleavus opened up the corpses of the monsters and retrieved the arm, which he gave to Horatio. In addition to his full share of treasure, Horatio has demanded that the party help him re-attach his arm. They agreed to do so as soon as feasible.

After making to to Jacksonville, Cleavus spent some gold to get drunk and hear rumors. Partially, this was a challenge for me to come up with five rumors at the drop of a hat. I had a few ideas kicking around in my head, so I dropped these rumors:

Rumor # 1: Skunk apes abducted my sister’s best friend’s cousin last week.

Rumor #2: Excaligator isn’t a myth; he is real and he is out there in the swamps somewhere. Whoever pulls the knife form his head will be the next Emperor of Long Florida!

Rumor #3: Witches can be trusted if you pay them.

Rumor #4: Bath salts are great for a healthy diet. Could I uh… borrow 25 gp?

Rumor #5: Emperor Jimothy Buffet III has lost his shaker salt, the very symbol of his rule. He blames a woman.

The players pursued the skunk ape rumor. The went to the last known location of the cousin (who was abducted during a berry picking expedition) and set up an ambush. As bait, Eltina Joan wore an apron and sang ‘Tralalalalala’ as she picked. Sure enough, a skunk ape came after her… and was promptly butchered by the ambush. They found the kidnapped cousin nearby and the session ended there.

Now, I have to read up on the rules for ship-to-ship combat because the party may do a little trolling pirating. I am uncertain what the future will hold, but it’s exciting.

Alexa, this is so rad. Play ‘Barrett’s Privateers’ by Stan Rogers.

THE GRAVEYARD

Honest Ivan – Venturer 1 – Shot through the heart by a goblin arrow – Died in session played on the 7th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

TORDEK, SON OF TORDEK – Dwarven Vaultguard 1 – Poison needle trap on the door – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Leopold – Pig – Bitten by a fire beetle – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Snookums – Thief 1 -??? – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Ralphina – Anti-Paladin 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Louis de la Croix – Shaman 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Attheu – Elven Enchanter 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Fake Snookums – Thief 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

No One Died This Time!

THE PARTY

Cleavus Rickshaw – Florida Man 1 – Has a rickshaw he carts his possessions around in. Has 3 Charisma.

Lubabrowfrow – Thief 1 – Rumor has it that I pronounced the character’s name correctly once.

Wyldstyle – Bard 1 – Likes edgy high-school-girl-goth-poetry.

François de la Croix – Explorer 1 – High Charisma. Wants to find what happened to his brother Louis.

Charlie – Paladin 1 – Henchman. Paladin of the Whey. Super jacked.

Eltina Joan – Bladedancer 1 – Henchwoman. No spells yet, so she is treated as expendable.

Horatio – Mage 1 – Henchman. Is the smartest and most handsome man in the world (other than the humble proprietor of this blog).

THE SESSION

Cleavus awoke from being passed out drunk last session (aka, the player was here this time). He took all the nice clothes off, except the bowtie. That’s right, this Florida Man runs around in a bowtie and speedo. Let me find that picture of me in a speedo and post it…

[PICTURE REMOVED DUE TO VIOLATION OF THE LAWS OF EVERY NATION ON EARTH, AS WELL AS THE LAW OF GOD HIMSELF]

Not me, but close enough.

He ran downstairs to get revenge on the people that dared to clean him and put clothes on him!!! They had been teleported into a room with no windows or doors, so he could not find them.

He did find the room with the shelf full of jewels, gold, Bitcoins, and Motörhead cassette tapes. This is the room that teleported the rest of the party into the room with no windows or doors. He held back his Florida Man nature and tried to plan.

For some reason (I later found out that he is trying to break his cursed sword), he tried to use his cursed magic sword to break the ceiling. After a few minutes, he broke through to the first floor. The merchant came over to the hole and yelled at him. Cleavus lowered a rope and net to try to scoop up the valuables, but the rope and net passed through. Frustrated, he tried to grab them with his hands, but got teleported into the room with the others.

The rest of the party was busy while this happened. By busy, I mean Wyldstyle the Bard looked at the ten sarcophaguses, and wrote a poem called Thanatopsis II: Electric Boogaloo.

The arrival of Cleavus confused them, but after some quick introductions and forgiveness, they agreed to work together.

They looked at each sarcophagus and tried to see if there were any differences between them. Importantly, they stated that they did NOT touch them. Only looked.

That is some minor #elite play right there. Specifying not just what they do, but what they are not doing.

I said that the ten sarcophagi had the same geometric pattern on them. They all looked the same. When pressed as to what the geometric pattern was, I panicked. Hadn’t thought that far ahead. So my brain traveled back in time to a simple geometric pattern I remembered from middle school.

These stupid “S” things

Horatio the Mage figured that there must be something in the room that would reverse the polarity of the teleportation circle and let them all out. With fear and trembling, they opened one of the sacrophagusen to see if there was something inside.

Of course, the one they chose actually had the gem that reversed the teleportation circle. A 10% chance to get it on the first try and they did it. Someone must have been playing #skyclad.

Rather than see if there was any wealth in the other sarchophageese, they left posthaste.

One last attempt was made to claim the treasure that teleported them into the room, but it was proven to be illusionary, even the Motörhead cassette tapes. One of my players may have threatened to kill me. If that happens, I deserve it.

In any case, the party continued their mission to clear the dungeon for the merchant who is totally not in love with the acolyte of J.E.B. and will not turn this place into a home for his cult (The Branch Floridians).

The found a room with a gelatinous cube in it, won initiative, and closed the door on it. Wonder how the merchant will react when they tell him the basement is clear of monsters, but it actually isn’t. Hmm…

They found a room full of coins. All scattered across the floor. While trying to collect them, the party ran afoul of some Florida Men.

A good reaction roll and jug of whisky later, the Florida Men became friends with the party. They warned of some Bobgoblins deeper in the dungeon and started drinking. The party questioned the Florida Men.

“Did you mean hobgoblins?”

“No, they are Bobgoblins.”

“What are they like?”

“Goblins, but bigger.”

“So, like hobgoblins?”

“Yes and no. They are Bobgoblins.”

With that clarifying conversation out of the way, the party went in search of the Bobgoblins. Not only is the gelatinous cube still out there, so are the Florida Men. The merchant won’t be pleased that there are still monsters in the basement!

Along the way, they came upon a partially-finished room. One of my players, who is quite familiar with work safety, asked if a particular OSHA-compliant sign was in the room. I said there was not the OSHA-compliant sign. There was a sign that simply said:

BEE CAREFUL

Apparently, that’s not good enough.

Eventually, they find the Bobgoblins, who the party asks to leave the dungeon. The Bobgoblins give a counter-offer: kill the merchant and let the Bobgoblins stay. The party just kills the Bobgoblins and takes their loot.

Now what is a Bobgoblin?

I just renamed a thoul. I had been reading about D&D monsters and heard about thouls. I have no idea if this is true, but this link talks about the origin of the thoul. It might be from a typo when someone meant to to type “ghoul”, so a new monster was created.

Still a bit more of the basement to explore, so I imagine that is what will happen next time.

THE GRAVEYARD

Honest Ivan – Venturer 1 – Shot through the heart by a goblin arrow – Died in session played on the 7th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

TORDEK, SON OF TORDEK – Dwarven Vaultguard 1 – Poison needle trap on the door – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Leopold – Pig – Bitten by a fire beetle – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Snookums – Thief 1 -??? – Died in session played on the 21st of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Ralphina – Anti-Paladin 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Louis de la Croix – Shaman 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Attheu – Elven Enchanter 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.

Fake Snookums – Thief 1 – Bitten by a giant fly – Died in session played on the 28th of November in the year of Our Lord 2021.