Monday, April 12, 2010

TSR Worlds Annual 1 (Chapter 3)

Why didn't she do this the first time? When we left off, Meredith had flown the mini-me Spelljammer into Toril’s crystal sphere.  Meredith is originally from the Forgotten Realms, and is looking to pick up some items she left with her old friends Rose and Michael.  This time, she (smartly) decides to leave Mullet Boy with Pax and seek out her friends by herself.

Meredith makes her way to Selune’s Smile, the bar where the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic takes place.  Talking with the bartender Luna, she finds out that her friends died five years ago.  They continue to talk about the fate of Meredith’s friends and their daughter, even though the entire cast of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic comes by one by one to interrupt the conversation.

So a centaur, a dwarf, and a half-elf walk into a bar...

When she learns Jasmine is still alive, Meredith quite bluntly asks if Jasmine inherited all of her parents possessions.   Luna realizes Meredith is fishing for information about her magic key and simply tells her that Jasmine still possesses it.

So now Meredith just has to hunt down Jasmine.  As a powerful wizard, perhaps she should cast a simple divination spell to locate the girl?  Maybe a Locate Object on her magic key?

Nah, lets follow some out of date information that she left town with an adventurer named “Chaos Carter”. 

The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons crew decides, in typical adventuring party fashion, to assist Meredith in locating Jasmine.  Onyx the dwarf notes that this won’t be easy, since Chaos Carter is the type of guy who topples empires through treachery and keeps his identity secret.

Not that Conan would ever say retreat. The scene abruptly shifts to Conan Blacker and assorted other caravan guards fighting off a griffon attack.  After they repel the attack, Blacker argues over tactics with the Gold Grain’s caravan master Gorm about the attack. Gorm is not the type of guy to be interested in listening to a mere hirelings suggestions though.

Translation: "I appreaciate you whoring yourself out for me" The importance of this scene becomes obvious when the half-elven wizard Kyriani reveals to Meredith that some guy she blew her contacts told her that Chaos Carter is currently targeting the Golden Grain Caravan and is disguised as one of the guards.  The group decides the best way to locate Chaos Carter is to infiltrate the caravan.

Meredith uses her illusions to fake a dragon attack on the party.  They then send Kyriani running in the direction of the caravan crying for help.  Despite Gorm’s initial reluctance to get involved, Kyriani’s “assets” prove to be to be sufficient incentive for Gorm to invite Kyriani and her “guards” to join the caravan.

Hint: He has a name, he must be important. As the party integrates with the remaining guards, they hear some griping from a somewhat skinny blonde guard named Raymond about how poorly the guards are treated by the merchants.  He insinuates that the merchants withhold healing potions from their guards.

Isn’t that always the way?  Big Business feels the crunch so the first thing they do is cut back on benefits for the little guy. 

Can Kyriana talk without holding a finger to her mouth? Meanwhile, Gorm expresses his concern that Blacker, who we saw fighting griffons earlier, is actually the infamous Chaos Carter.  Apparently the griffons had some kind of extortion gig going on.  Rather than pay the griffons their “reasonable tribute”, Blacker insisted on fighting them instead.  This is enough to convince Gorm that Blacker is out to ruin him.

Wait a second, the griffons were running an extortion gig?

OK, I know griffons are smarter than mere animals, but does a group of griffons running an extortion gig make any sense?  Aren’t there a ton of monsters that this kind of activity would be a more natural fit for?  Since Griffons can’t speak common, how do they make their demands?  Do they hold up a sign saying “I can has ur Gold Peezes” or just hope someone in the group they are shaking down has a Tongues spell handy?

In any case, while Gorm is talking, the caravan is attacked again, this time by giant bats!  Things aren’t going well for the guards until Meredith casts a sleep spell to take them down.

I love the guy who says they are easier to kill when on the ground... and asleep

Gorm then disappears, never to appear in the story again.

Speaking of sleep, the next scene you see has Meredith waking up Vajra to tell her all the guards have gone.  Vajra wonders if they have pulled a Wisp (quit without warning). Meredith overheard them discussing it.  Apparently Blacker is arguing that they do, but Raymond is arguing that they don’t.  Their musings are interrupted by a purple worm attack.

I think the DM may be flipping to random pages of the Monster Manual

OK, this is starting to get ridiculous.  I know the Forgotten Realms are a dangerous place, but when you are attacked by greedy griffons, giant bats, and purple worms in the space of 24 hours, I assume you must be wearing monster attracting perfume.

The guards return in time to help defeat the purple worm, but Blacker is now suspicious that the newcomers are a bunch of company spies.  Meredith blithely admits to this, much to Kyriani’s utter confusion.  Blacker and his men quit in disgust over the company’s double-dealing ways.

Because all spies reveal themselves when asked nicely.

Kyriani rubs her two brain cells together and realizes they never asked Blacker where Jasmine is.  Meredith tells her to go find out, so she marches after the mercenary.

Well, her Intelligence has to be at least 9

Of course the reason Meredith let Blacker go is because he isn’t Chaos Carter.  Who could it be?  Maybe Raymond, the only other guard with a name?  Meredith asks him where Jasmine is, and he gives the incredibly vague, “I left her last month in the city of Saerloon” before leaving.

He also admitted to being the King of Cormyr. 

Back at Selune’s Smile, Kyriani expresses surprise that Blacker isn’t Chaos Carter, especially since he admitted it during pillow talk.  Onyx simply notes that “Girl, once you get a man worked up, He’d admit to being Elminster if you asked him to”.


Anyway, now that they know Jasmine is in Saerloon, Luna was able to scry her and saw her boarding a ship that then teleported away.  This somehow gives her the information she needs to find Jasmine, so Meredith then decides to head back to the mini-me Spelljammer.

What happens next?  Well, you will just have to return for TSR Worlds Annual 1 (Chapter 4).  This time with decent art!


  • This plot was extremely contrived.  Especially when you consider that the group had multiple powerful wizards who should have been able to clear this up rather quickly.
  • I am amazed by how badly mischaracterized Kyriani is in this one.  As I recall, in the AD&D comic she was portrayed as sexy but smart (she is a wizard after all).  In this comic she is simply a vapid bimbo.
  • You would think that when Luna saw Jasmine boarding the ship, she would say something like “Oh good, she is with Agrivar.  You can trust him, he is Kyriani’s brother and a paladin”.  Of course, then they couldn’t have a misunderstanding and get into a fight.