The one where one of the heroes dies.

Thanks Gary.

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Keith (me, Jim Clocks) is writing again this week, and just like last time it’s going to be a little fast and loose. I’ll be in black, Jon (our DM) is in blue. Another player, Eric shall be in red, as the prophecy foretold.

This is a Bonus Adventure where Jono takes old classic modules and updates them for 5e. It’s a fun chance for all of us to play versions of some of the classics.

I don’t want to spoil anything but one of the Cads dies in this one.

Rope-a-dope

The Couatl tells us that the people who used to inhabit this vessel travelled across worlds and planes, collecting creatures and vegetation. It doesn’t think they were inherently malicious in their intent, but it does think that they took on more than they could handle. Hence the whole creatures breaking out of their pods and everyone being dead thing.

The Couatl heals us up with fun flying snake magic and tells us we can seek out its aid later if we need to. We agree to let it know if we find a way out in return. Couatl friend!

I’m super pumped about this, another creature with the same alignment as me! I’m certainly the only lawful character in the group, and I may even be the only good character. (I’ll have to sneak a peek at some character sheets next session.)

I asked the Couatl for a feather. 5e item creation is pretty vague, but traditionally it’s a component in a bunch of magical items. I know it’s not a small request, but hey, if you don’t ask, you don’t get! He told us that he’d think on it, which is better than “no”.

That was a really nice touch.  More or less guarantees the Couatl will show back up at some point.

The Couatl explains to the party that on the floor above us there is a great and terrible evil, and that it can probably handle it on its own. In fact, if we go with it we would probably hinder it more than help. We didn’t really want to face a great and terrible evil anyhow!

We press onwards and downwards.

We come across what looks to be relatively intact bar/leisure area. The booze crazy warlock gets giddy and we get attacked by 3 Ropers.

Typically, Ropers stay very still to resemble stalagmites in caves to lure in their prey. But this is a spaceship. So they’re just big flesh cones hanging out in the corner of a 70’s sci-fi drinking establishment.

Real smooth Ropers.

Fun fact about Ropers: They are one of the OG-est of the OG monsters. They first appeared in the official TSR newsletter in 1975. That’s 2 years before the first Monster Manual and within the first year of publication history. They came out just a few months after the original Greyhawk supplement.

I sure am glad my character was nearly eaten by a monster with that kind of pedigree.

Below is an action shot of D&D. Action.

A big-mouthed meatpole with four 50 foot long molestopodes.

The Ropers had a pretty good strategy of using their long tentacles to pull apart the party into groups and try to eat them in smaller portions. One of the Ropers made the tactical error of roping in both the Barbarian and the Rogue though and they just dropped a whole hell of a lot of damage in short order.

Particularly the Barbarian.

After killing one of them, Brubax the Barbarian runs up another and rolls an extremely high grapple attack role, the intention being to judo flip it. Due to various magic items and having his rage activated Jono does the math and determines that Brubax can manhandle something in the range of 2000 lbs.

Brubax suplexes a Roper!

This seems relevant

That was almost all Danny, him being like “can I drag it back” and not realizing just how insane Goliath Barbarians are.  He could flip a car. The Roper weighs almost as much as a car.

In a hilarious followup the Bard casts Phantasmal Force on the third Roper, forcing it to see that which it fears most. After watching the Barbarian slice up one of its Roper bros and suplex another one like a bitch, do you know what that third Roper sees?

Another Brubax.

If you count up all the Brubaxes we know you’d probably get more than five.  Like… the goliath and wildling versions. The two axes. Now a phantasmal force.  I feel like he named some articles of clothing Brubax in the old game.

Good times.

The Theatrical Flayer

We find a spiral staircase that sends us even deeper, and we figure that we must be close to the ground level of the structure. It sort of seems like we’ve gotten to an area that’s lower than the elevators, though I could be wrong.

There’s a long corridor that is littered with refuse and more disturbingly: corpses.

Do you know what makes a lot of sense to put in the bowels of a spaceship?

A theater!

Do you know what would be fun to having living in the backstage area of a theater in the bowels of a spaceship?

A Mindflayer! With poison grenades and a ray gun!

Thanks Gary! That’s just what Mindflayers were missing!

Without hesitation, the Rogue straps on the big shoulder cannon that he picked up off the vegepigmy (remember the one that did 5 D10 damage on a miss?), takes aim, and fires.

The awesome weapon buzzes and charges up and there’s a flash of light and… nothing happens. Turns out that the blaster needs a batter with two charges and the battery only has one. Yay.

Sensible chuckle.

The Mindflayer tries to do what they do best: flay minds. Incredibly, most of the party staves of the ‘Flayer’s initial mind assault so he hightails it down the hallway. Some of the party gives chase and the guy pops out a poison grenade and chucks it at the few unfortunates out in the hall.

Jon: “Make a save.”
Tidus: “I’ve failed the save.”
Jon: “You are dead.”

Not incapacitated. Not reduced to zero hit points. Dead.

You’d already encountered grenades.  Specifically the instant-kill poison one.  The mindflayer in the picture I showed had grenades.  He ran in, did one attack, and then ran away to bait you all.

I was thinking about this later… what could they have done.  Not a lot.  And that’s really terrible in a game.  I think I have a solution but it’s pretty tricksy.  Regardless: area-of-effect save or die is as savage as it gets.  Pure Gary.

Consider thinking of it like this: we have successfully spent 1 blaster shot and 1 grenade from the mind flayer.

That was a fun way to end the session!

Dungeons and Dragons is fun!

My notorious bad dice rolls again. I had Bardic Inspiration humming and a +2 on the roll. With all my bonuses, my 4 turned into a 12, which was not enough. Owch.  This might sound crazy, but I’m not too bummed about this. Jon did repeatedly tell us that this was a deadly dungeon, and wanted our input on how to handle it. I repeatedly said I wanted the original deadliness, and now I’m reaping what I’ve sown. Do I dwell on my unused Inspiration and un-cast Death Ward? Of course I do, but it was also bound to happen. We can’t be constantly vigilant.

And you had inspiration?  Tragedy; I’d have let you reroll it even if you called it late.

The current plan seems to be try and barter with Couatl to try and get our Cleric back, but who knows if that will work or not?

I immediately offered to roll up a new character, but Jon has made it pretty clear that we either make a deal with the Couatl, or I play an NPC, so I’ll hold out until we’re done with Barrier Peaks. If there’s a chance to save Tidus, I’ll take it. At least he wasn’t disintegrated.

Despite the death of a character the party unanimously decides to press onwards. We are so close (it seems) to getting out of the spaceship, it would be a shame not to see it through.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

Jon is a Master of Dungeons of the highest caliber. He podcasts with me over on 9to5 Entertainment System and occasionally blogs here in Jon’s Junk.

Eric plays a Triton Cleric in Big Fish and also once went to Otakuthon for us and interviewed Hamlet Machine.

All Images copyright Wizards of the Coast.

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