DOAT Book II, Chapter 10: The Royal Guard. The Chain Room.

Greetings Dragonscouts! Time to get back to our noble band of heroes as they attempt to infiltrate Pax Tharkas in order to lead a slave revolt against an army that has motherfucking dragons.

They’ve just been turned aside by a giant slug, obtained a potentially enchanted blade, and discovered that Laurana’s followed them all the way from Qualinost. And now they’re forced down the tunnel that Raistlin called “evil.” I’m sure that it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out, right?

star trek nod

Laurana, for her part, is scared, but refuses to run back to Tanis, and it occurs to her that she’s serious about wanting to make Tanis proud of her. Oh, so just now you decide it’s serious, Laurana? Following this group of seasoned fighters into certain death was a frivolous whim? Good lord.

Shade

They come to the end of the tunnel where they find a hole that apparently radiates evil. I’m not sure what the physics of this might be. Is evil a plasma, perhaps?

Gilthanas, Raistlin and Tanis decide to enter the hole of evil, and find themselves… in another room. Apparently, they’re the crypts of the Royal Guard, who are pledged to continue their duties even in death. Raistin helpfully informed Tanis that unlike the friendly zombies of Darken Wood, these guys will straight-up kill everyone’s ass for disturbing the king’s rest. Willickers! How are they going to get out of this one? Maybe with a balls to the wall fight to the death?

terrible battle

maybe we’re unclear as to what “fight to the death” entails.

…annnnd nope. Goldmoon comes into the room, shows off her medallion, and the ghosts melt away. So much for thrilling ghost fights.

63_sad-crying-full-house-michelle-tanner

They come to a false door, but just as they despair of going further, Raistlin whips out a spell from the Book of Fistandantilus, and the entire wall opens up. Not bad, Raist! But the spells sure do take it out of him, or so we’re to understand.

This leads them to the famous Chain Room of Pax Tharkas, which is so famous that we’re only hearing about it just now. Apparently if the chain is released, it drops massive blocks of granite behind the gates of the fortress, preventing anyone from opening them. This seems like a short-sighted strategy to me – what happens if the fort-dwellers drop the chain, then win the battle? Now that they can’t open their own front doors, it’s going to be a little hard to go out for groceries during peacetime.

Poorly planned fortress logistics aside, the group starts searching the chain room and find a new secret door in some of the stones. Raistlin immediately warns them against opening it, saying that he senses enormous power behind it. I’m sure that since Raistlin has been right about basically everything that has happened so far, the group will listen to what he’s saying, right?

nope

Gilthanas opens the goddamn door, because of course he does, and reveals… treasure!

scrooge

Oh man! Gold bricks everywhere! Rich stuff! The treasure of Kith-Kanan! What could possibly go wrong now?

cher yuk

This question is immediately answered by the spirit of a dark elf attacking them. So, what is a dark elf exactly? We haven’t heard about dark elves in this book yet, and in fact, we’re explicitly taught that elves always “wore the white robes of good.” Is it another breed of elf? Have the rejected the ways of the white robed and gone rogue? Not finding the answers to these burning questions in our book, I turned to Wikipedia to see if I could figure this out.

Aha, so a “dark elf,” or “drow” in Dungeons and Dragons tradition is defined as “a generally evil, dark-skinned subrace of elves.”

lav7

Ooh. Guys. Guys. You guys. Guys.

To the book’s credit, it doesn’t describe this particular elf as being dark-skinned, but only “coldly beautiful” and “distorted.” Evidently she was sentenced beyond death to guard the king’s treasure, and she starts doing it quite effectively. Raistlin has just enough time for a quick “I TOLD YOU SO” before telling everyone to run.

The ghost of the dark elf evidently attacks by screaming and flailing at our heroes, and we’re left to wonder: 1. how this is in any way effective; and 2. why ghost elves need to catch their breath to scream. Before these questions are answered, Raistlin swings into action. He faces down the dark elf by… summoning his inner strength, I guess, although there’s a bit that I’m sure won’t end up being significant at all about him calling out the spell in a strong, clear voice that is not his own. Anyway, he seals the treasury door, trapping the dark elf and saving everyone. Again. But he collapses, forcing his brother to carry him around. Romantically, I mean.

true romance

haven’t deployed this one in a while.

The group makes its weary way through another passage, and finds themselves in the cellar of Pax Tharkas – meaning they’ve made their way inside the fortress. Huzzah! There is, of course, the minor matter of Tasslehoff and Fizban going missing, but eh, I am sure nobody will really miss them. Onward to glory!
Asshole count: In this one, it’s got to be Gilthanas. He’s been with our heroes long enough to get with the program that when Raistlin gives you a dire warning about something, you stay the eff away from that thing. Honestly.

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DOAT Book II, Chapter 4: Rescued! Fizban’s magic.

Greetings dragonscouts! When last we met our noble band, they were being toted along in a bunch of fucking cages about to be sold to the slave mines, and had picked up a wizard who appears to be exhibiting symptoms of dementia. This is something the book expects us to find amusing.

hokay.

hokay.

Our chapter opens with everyone’s favorite sociopath, Tasslehoff, being VERY PUT OUT by the fact that he has been locked up. This is because kenders (being sociopaths) apparently don’t take well to being imprisoned due to their freewheeling natures. Tasslehoff, as is to be expected, takes this out on his fellow prisoners until even Goldmoon just about slaps him, and Tanis sends him to the back of the cart to think about what he’s done.

Spoiler alert: Tasslehoff does not think about what he has done, but instead turns his attention to the gully dwarf servant of the head hobgoblin. Our heroic gully dwarf now even gets a name – Sestun – and a back story! Apparently he hails from Pax Tharkas, which as you may recall from past chapters, is under the control of Lord Verminaard, and the destination of the slave caravan.

At this point I would have expected Tasslehoff to start torturing poor Sestun, but apparently Setsun’s treatment at the hands of the hobgoblins and draconians (ugh) is so terrible, that even our racist heroes start to feel sorry for him, and chat with him. Unfortunately he is not able to give them much information about the state of Pax Tharkas, as he is unable to relay information in a coherent way. Or count.

of fucking course

of fucking course

Meanwhile, Caramon and Sturm are debating the best means of fighting dragons. This is apparently a difficult task, due to the fact that the only known fighter of dragons was the warrior Huma, subject of the Oh Noetry at the beginning of the book, and hero of the Knights of Solemnia. Apparently only the Knights take Huma seriously, so accurate reports of Huma are in short supply. However, Caramon does remember one thing about him: he forged the mighty Dragonlance!

mind blown

THEY SAID THE TITLE OF THE BOOKS YOU GUYS THEY SAID IT

Anyway Fizban pipes up to say that Huma and the Dragonlance are both real, which surprises our noble heroes. However, when Fizban is asked to describe the thing, he can only remember that it was some kind of a lance that was good for fighting dragons.

Shade

Something about Fizban has gotten Raistlin rankled, though he’s not saying what it is. This drives Tasslehoff into more infuriating levels of boredom, so he sets about telling Sestun fabulous kender stories. Ahhh, there’s that torture I was expecting.

Anyway, while he’s storifying, Tasslehoff notices that Gilthanas, Tanis’s elf bro, is not asleep like the rest of his pals. Then Tas starts hearing a lot of strange bird calls. Fizban wakes to mutter that the elves are here, just in time for the ELF ATTAAAAACK

elf attack

pictured.

Elf arrows appear out of nowhere, just killing the fuck out of draconians (ugh) and hobgoblins! Unfortunately there aren’t enough elves to attack the caravan directly, so it’s time for our brave heroes to make their escape! This is made easier by the hobgoblins helpfully running away, but what to do with all those draconians (ugh)? Sestun, with the typical heroism and bravery shown by gully dwarves Krynn-wide, tries to break the lock, but is axe is old and busted. All seems lost for our mighty companions, as the draconians (ugh) clearly intend to butcher them in their cage rather than allow them to be rescued by the elves. Just then, Fizban decides it’s time for some poppin’ hot magic.

poppin hot magic

Proving that this is indeed a dungeons and dragons campaign, Fizban casts fireball inside the cage, setting the entire thing on fire. Fortunately for them all, the fire also superheated the cage lock, which allows Sestun, HERO OF THE HOUR, to break the thing and set our heroes free!

so rugged. so powerful.

so rugged. so powerful.

They set off to grab their stuff from the supply wagon, all except for Gilthanas who goes all “I’M NOT YOUR BRAH, BRAH” to Tanis before noping right on out of there. Tanis and the rest of our heroes have no choice but to follow suit, while Caramon and Sturm defend them against a group of even bigger, badder draconians (ugh) which, like, expel poisonous gas once they’ve been stabbed.

Just then Gilthanas, apparently having changed his mind about being Tanis’s brah, comes to their rescue with a bunch of elf warriors, and they all escape into the woods.

The elves waste zero time telling the human refugees that were rescued from the caravan that they’re not welcome to stay in the woods. I mean, decent that they offer food and supplies, but it comes with a swift “don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.” Goldmoon calls this out – rightly, I think, these people are pretty terrified – but Porthios, leader of the elves, stands firm, and the humans leave. When Goldmoon tries to argue about this, Porthios slams the human race in general for causing the long-ago Cataclysm and driving the gods out of Krynn.

notallhumans

As for our heroes, well, since Porthios, Gilthanas and Tanis are brahs, the elves agree to take the group to Qualinost – although it’s not so much an invitation as a command. Looks like our heroes are prisoners again.

The chapter ends here, and it was pretty satisfying, I have to say. Nothing like a good old fashioned prison break followed by some good old fashioned elf racism to fuel the fantasy-trope fire. And hey, hear that Mr. Frodo? We’re going to see the elves! Pretty cool. Until next time, dragonscouts!

DOAT Book One, Chapter 7: The story of the staff. Strange clerics. Eerie feelings.

Our group of travelers is now making their way through Solace Vale, the woods outside the town of Solace. These woods are unexpectedly dangerous, as they are apparently populated with tangleshoot vines, which have a… taste for human blood.

baby-audrey-2

Like that ever happens.

When they finally get to the road, it’s quiet. Too quiet. everyone in the group is suddenly nervous about walking along the road, even Cauldron Caramon, who is supposed to be all big and tough and strong. So they decide to send Tasslehoff to scout things out by himself, because when your giant, brawny dudes who may or may not be wearing full plate armor and have swords and shit are scared to walk along the road, the best thing to do is send the tiniest, scrawniest member of your party in front of you.

fucking seriously?

So Tasslehoff wanders off down the road singing… a… well, oh god. Let’s have some lyrics, shall we?

Your one true love’s a sailing ship/That anchors at our pier/We lift her sails, we man her decks,/We scrub the portholes clear

Uhh…

For all the sailors love her/And flock to where she’s moored/Each man hoping that he might/Go down, all hands on board.

Okay, ignoring the hideous meter of this new Oh Noetry it’s… my god, it’s basically a “your girlfriend’s a big ho” joke set to verse. And of course, the character presented as the most childish and innocent member of the group is the one who gets to sing it. I mean, we’ve established that Tasslehoff is a sociopath, but not, like, a sex one. Yet.

Until Rule 34 has its way.

Until Rule 34 has its way.

After Tasslehoff and his sex songs are safely out of earshot, the rest of the group decides to try its luck on the road. To Tanis’s surprise, Raistlin is making his way along the path pretty well, considering he has been coughing blood, and is now engaged in the time honored mistake of walking while reading.

To be fair, this is your Khaleesi's favorite mistake.

To be fair, this is your Khaleesi’s favorite mistake.

Tanis muses that it’s necessary for wizards to re-learn a spell every time they cast it, which I understand is, like, a D&D thing or something? I know very little about D&D, but it makes sense to put some limitations on your wizards’ ability to just go around casting insane spells with no consequences in order to make the game fair.

Unlike in real life where wizards always win.

Unlike in real life where wizards always win.

Tanis hangs with Goldmoon, who for no reason just starts telling him her life story. It’s pretty boring and cliched, really. She and Riverwind were in love, he was an outcast and she was a princess, blah blah. Goldmoon’s father sent him out on an impossible quest to keep him away from her, he came back with the blue crystal staff, the tribe tried to stone them to death, the staff teleported them to Solace. You know, just like all the fairy tales.

And like all fairy tales, PuppyCat told it better.

And like all fairy tales, PuppyCat told it better.

After Goldmoon tells her story, Riverwind finally opens up about his journey to find the staff, but not before being kind of elf-racist towards Tanis. He apparently found a strange, evil city that sounds sort of like a Lovecraftian fever dream. While he was there, dying from injuries, a woman appeared before him, healed him, and gave him the staff.

Tanis is a little incredulous, looking at the staff, as it seems so benign – he sees it as plain and ordinary, with a device carved at the top, and feathers, “such as the barbarians admire,”

pocahontistied around it.

Tanis’s racist musings are interrupted by Tasslehoff running back down the path with a warning. Tanis orders everyone to jump into the bushes. Everyone does – except Sturm, who decides to stand his ground like an asshole. Tasslehoff catches up to them and warns them that a party of clerics is coming down the road. This doesn’t sound incredibly dangerous, although Sturm claims that he can “handle” them. However, Tasshlehoff apparently has a weird feeling about them. Perhaps even… an eerie feeling?

Not that kind of feeling.

Not that kind of feeling.

The fact that even a sociopath like Tasslehoff has misgivings about these clerics convinces even Sturm that it’s time to withdraw, so the whole group hides in some bushes. They watch as the group of clerics come into view, wheeling a handcart behind them.

Tanis proposes that Sturm go up and talk to them, which… really, Tanis? I mean, these are a group of clerics, which are basically priests, and you decide to send out the guy who, with no other knowledge about them save that a kender is feeling a little weird about them, says that he is willing to “handle,” i.e. kill them, to negotiate? This is not a good plan, bro.

Tanis, in his time honored tradition of not listening to me, sends Sturm to wait along the road anyway, filling in the others about his master plan. Raistlin is not a fan of this either, but not for the same reasons as me. He connects the dots between the blue crystal staff randomly showing up near Solace with the strange clerics showing up – it’s a weird coincidence, he posits, and might indicate that the staff is theirs by right. Everyone worries about this except Flint, who bitches about the rain, and Sturm, who waits for the clerics, stroking his mustaches.

you know, Dragonscouts, I went on Google to find a good mustache stroking picture, and unexpectedly found a video of my ex boyfriend stroking his mustache on Fox News. No, every single word of that sentence is absolutely true. So I am just going to post a picture of Freddie Mercury here, drink a bottle of wine, and hope for the best.

Do I make you feel better, Khaleesi?

Does my mustache make you feel better, Khaleesi?

Yes it does, Freddie. And also, wine.

ANYWAY. The clerics come into view, and true to Tasslehoff’s feelings, are pretty damn weird looking. They are all tall and shrouded in cloaks and bandages. They chat a bit with Sturm, who references the rumors of a war to the north, which the clerics deny. They tell him that they’re in search of a blue crystal staff (of course). Evidently, one of their order is very ill and in need of its healing powers. Further (they claim), it was stolen from their sacred order by a barbarian

pocahontis

who they traced to the plains, but who then vanished.

Goldmoon, on hearing this, runs out into the road to help the sick cleric. Everyone else follows, except for Raistlin, Flint, Tasslehoff and Tanis, who is showing an uncharacteristic canniness.

And the chapter ends on this cliffhanger. It’s a bit more exciting than the last chapter, and doesn’t rely so much on telling not showing, so I feel that it’s superior in all ways. Except for racism, which is a real problem in this book, I’m seeing. At the same time, it’s all action and very little character exploration or growth, which makes me wonder if we’re going to see any chapters like chapter 5, where we got both at the same time. Well, here’s hoping we discover the mystery of the clerics in our next chapter, am I right?

Asshole count: Tough to pick a winner for the chapter, but I’m voting for Sturm. It is just weird that his first thought on coming across a bevy of clerics is “hey, I can take them out!” Tasslehoff takes second place for his inappropriate sex songs.