Thursday, February 9, 2017

"I don't need any of these things, but I'm taking them." - Antagonist Relations Actual Play Podcast 7 - GM Commentary

You know the drill, go listen to the podcast for episode 7 first... Plus you'll get to peep the maps for this session.

It's been a while, but we're finally about to play episode 8 this week, so it's time to post my commentary for Meat is Meat as I prep. A Red and Pleasant Land is abbreviated as aR&PL below. Also, spoilers for the podcast, though I'll hide any spoilers for the players about upcoming sessions.

Comments are in roughly chronological order as I listen to the podcast for the umpteenth time...

A close up of the map of the dungeon, showing the starting point...

  • Opening music again is "The Thousandfold Epicentre" by The Devil's Blood, off their album of the same name. As I continue using the same music for linked episodes.
  • My wife's cruel laughter when I tried to introduce myself as "the Antagonizer" cut me to the bone...Do readers have any better ideas for a Nom du jeu?
  • I had forgotten that Ochen has golden pears, I'll need to figure out something to do with that.
  • Oh, the ever-present struggle of players keeping notes... but the Beard jumping in to do the recap in Harry Hoppington was pretty great.
  • "For purposes of insurance, the fire was quite accidental..."
  • I'm a little sad that the players decided not to talk with Sir Horsefall, but I guess I'll find a way to re-use the missions and nonsense I'd prepped for him to bother them with.
  • Every time I say "mome rath" I'm sure I'm saying it wrong.
  • You can find the text of Enock Whipple's letter here...
  • The PCs found the head of a Decapitated Lord, I'm glad that Meliaries went right for the blood and I'm also glad that the PCs decided to bring the head with them. Maybe someday I'll get them to the Hall of Basilisk Thrones.
  • I'm a little sad I forgot to gender swap the Mirror guards, but the bit about the mirror guards having identical equipment was more amusing that I had expected, at least to me.
  • "I don't need any of these things, but I'm taking them." motto of thieving murder hobos everywhere...
  • Potion Secret... the potion with the octopus in it is a Potion of Extra Limbs which allows the user to spontaneously generate up to two fully functional extra arms, legs, tentacles, claws, whatever, for 1d12 hours.
  • Meliaries is willing to leave a minor fortune for a single mince-meat pie, but she didn't manage to find the key hidden in one of the pies.
  • Dungeon Yelp. Need to figure out how to use this in the future.
  • "No gold left behind" another thieving murder hobo motto.
  • The book is an Anonymity and the secret it holds is... that it is a book explaining the exact opposite of how to perform some task the reader would like to do, or the exact opposite of hte best course of action. So the detailed instructions to get from the Mirror dungeon to Castle Poenari is exactly not how they'd want to go to get home.
  • I came up with the Garrison Keilor Mome Raths on the fly, because, spoiler, I find Lake Woebegon to be one of the most tedious things in the world. 
  • Forgetting to gender swap the mirror guards did mean that Ochen would need to mark the mirror Meliaries with an arrow wound.
  • I have to admit, I did not expect Meliaries to tear out the throat of her doppelganger.
  • The four Mome Raths are distinguished by...
    • a broken tusk
    • drools like a pitbull
    • olive green hide
    • an especially curly pig's tail
  • "I am non-discriminatory in my murder" this session was just full of Thieving Murder Hobo quotes...
  • Here is what I was twittering...
  • The PCs free Dearing Sinnett, crow-headed Footman of Hearts, who was trying to deliver a commission for a gown for the Heart Queen. Per the book, Footmen who serve the Heart Queen "tend to be voluble in their idiocy" but I don't quite think I captured that.
  • "You can have snake quilt, that's fine".
  • The Beard just glowered at me as I described the twists and turns of the dungeon...
  • The drawer room scroll that reads "Consult Me" is another anonymity from the excellent Anonymities table.
  • "He's a shady hobo, he's not working" they're mean to Moth right before...
  • And then quickly the game takes a turn as Harry eats the Moth so that he can ask Meliaries if he ever has a chance with her. #RIPMoth
  • While I had kinda forgotten how to do the Moth voice, it was much more that Harry Hoppington went full bore into eating the Moth and I wanted as a GM to honor PC action.
  • Tiny Viking Funeral for Moth on Shifty Pond. Coming soon to an Antagonist Relations Actual Play Podcast...
  • After many trials and tribulations the party finds Enock Whipple who is a dormouse.
  • "Why did we save Enock in the first place?" 
  • Enock lives just outside the Garden of Pests and the players were immediately unhappy with that fact.
  • The end music is again, Outro music is "Luna Moth Speaks" by Jex Thoth
And SPOILERS to follow so time for my A Red and Pleasant Land players to peace out...

So for a long time I was going to have "shifty pond" as my players reference it just be a red herring, that they'd just see a pond now and then and become paranoid about it in the way that only RPG players can get when they suspect the GM has some crafty plot. However, now that the PCs have a reason to stop by shifty pond to give Shady Hobo Moth his viking funeral (RIPMOTH) I want to do a bit more with the pond. So what I plan to do now is to have the pond be the home of Gwenaëlle Décalage, the vampiric seven of Diamonds. Here's what I've decided about Gwenaëlle.
  • She is stuck on a very small (10ft x 10ft) island in the middle of the pond.
  • She calls the pond, Woebegotten Pond...
  • She found herself on the island when a croquet match went very awry.
  • She still has her mallet and a half dozen croquet balls with her on the island.
  • She has a pet flail snail, Henjamin.
  • She has discovered that she can move the pond when no one is watching, but it's fed by an underground spring which makes it count enough like running water that she cannot cross the water.
  • She hates the vulture known as Mister Gizzard who taunts her.
  • She will handsomely reward the PCs if they do one of the following for her.
    • Bring her an umbrella or parasol.
    • Kill or drive away Mister Gizzard.
    • Kill the inhabitants of a nearby garden so that she can move the pond there.
    • Bring her tea or tarts.
    • Find someone who can give her a new hairstyle.
    • Steal a pair of shoes for her from Nolwenn, the six of diamonds and her rival who lives near the Spires of Zombor.
    • Find a way to get her off the island that does not involve flying or a boat.
    • Bring a letter from her to Yannick, a Five of Clubs, a former lover who has a command near the Garden of Pests.

Once the PCs meet her, the pond will stalk them, following them when they're not looking until they agree to aid her or attempt to slay her. Which means that when they bring the Special Spice Blend #3 back to Thomasina, Gwenaëlle and her pond will be stalking them...

Mister Gizzard, on the other hand, I'm waiting to decide on motives and behaviors until the game itself, just drawing vague inspiration from "People-Vultures" from King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.

Either way, when they get back to Thomasina's hut, she'll have glue for Ochen and directions to Castle Cachtice if they still want to go there after she bakes up a pudding for them. Plus they need to decide if they're escorting Enock to his home.

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