Lions, Tigers & Orcs; Oh My

The Adventure

Feature Image Source: Ralph Horsley

As orcs descend on the party, we continue our quest in Nightstone. If you are currently running Storm King’s Thunder, beware possible spoilers ahead. You can also catch up on the previous DM Matt adventures here.

The Adventure

With Ren and Sari facing off alone against a horde of orcs rushing into the city, Vola and Theren decided it best to stop the flow of people crossing the rope to the keep. Theren found suitable hiding places for the remaining villagers stuck outside the keep as Vola “assisted” Larken back over to their side of the keep’s moat (assisted meaning pulled really hard on the rope rocketing him across as he held on and jumped). As they started rushing to the gate, Vola noticed a hole in one of the outer walls; caused by the giant attack. She felt that left the city open to an attack dangerously close to the keep. Vola and Theren broke off from the advance to the main gate to secure the breached wall. Their intuitions paid off as Theren saw splashes coming from the water outside the hole in the wall.
Larken, Cassius, and Morack joined the fight just in time as the orcs started pouring across the bridge leading into the main gate. Cassius brought in some extra help by summoning a lion and tiger companion to fight by their side. He obviously was not just some helpless duke as we originally thought.

Props are due to our DM Matt at this point as two separate battles ensued. He handled it seamlessly.

—– MAIN GATE —–

It became obvious that the gate could not be raised in time to stop the orcs, so Ren misty stepped down from the gate tower. She thunder waved to push some of the orcs back from the main gate and managed to eliminate 4 of them right away. Seeing Ren pushing the orcs back, Sari came down from the second gate tower and wild shaped into an elk. She started pushing her way through the orcs, and Ren jumped on her back to ride along for mounted combat.

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source: Entropy

CHARGE!

—– BREACHED WALL —–

Three orcs emerged from the water as Theren and Vola came up to the breach in the wall, and Vola spotted four more on the other side of the shore. She yelled out in orcish that the leader of the raiding party wanted them all to regroup at the main gate now. I rolled a spectacularly awful persuasion check though, so the group of orcs were in no way buying what this half-orc girl was selling.
Seeing they did not believe her and wanting to hold off from fighting, Vola asked in orcish their clan name. I made yet another awful persuasion roll, so one of the orcs made a smart-ass comment, “the clan that is taking this city”. Vola decided that was enough with the pleasantries and threw a javelin at the smart-ass orc. Unable to shake the feeling she should not be killing fellow orcs, she threw wide and missed the orc completely. The orc however had no reservations attacking her and immediately threw his own javelin hitting Vola square in the shoulder. Theren retaliated and cast flaming sphere, completely immolating that orc.

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source: Gamasutra

—– MAIN GATE —–

Cassius held back from the main fight, took aim with his bow, and eliminated an orc right away with his shot. Sari also continued to push through the orcs as Ren shot firebolts from her back. Seeing Cassius and Ren taking down orcs so easily, the orc leader snarled and let out a loud battle cry to bolster his raiders. Gaining advantage on their attacks, the orc raiders began fighting back the party making some headway through the gates.

Larken recognized this tactic after a nicely rolled arcana check and cast bless to give the group a little extra help countering the raiders savage attacks. Cassius immediately took advantage of the blessing, cutting down another orc with an arrow. Seeing the leader fairly untouched, he recalled his pets and shot a vine arrow that entangled the leader in strong ropy vines. Unfortunately the orc leader was extremely strong, so he broke that grapple almost instantly.
Despite slipping the grasp of the vines, the leader gained little ground as he watched Sari trample and kill yet another one of his orcs. Ren also dealt another blow, hopping off Sari’s back and casting another thunder wave that finished off another orc fighter. As she turned from her latest kill though, Ren felt a creeping command enter her mind, telling her to walk off the bridge into the water. She resisted this magical instruction though and began looking for the source of the spell. She spotted an orc healer near the leader and hurled a firebolt his way.

The orc leader was quickly growing angry watching his forces laid to waste. He charged up to Sari and unloaded rage filled attacks. Landing each attack without a miss, he dealt massive damage causing Sariel to lose her elk form. She found herself standing face to face with a snarling, angry orc leader with no beast form to protect her.

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source: Scrolls of Lore

—– BREACHED WALL —–

Vola tried one last time to stop the advance telling them to halt for the daughter of the Laughingmaw clan (her estranged father’s clan name). My shitty rolls continued to flow and the orcs’ attack did stop in the slightest. Theren was not suffering from bad roll syndrome however and nat 20’d on an eldritch blast, blowing one of the orcs to bits.
Realizing that reasoning was just not going to work, Vola launched another javelin at the oncoming orcs. I must have been cursed because yet AGAIN my roll robbed me of any chance of success and the javelin was batted away by the advancing foe.

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source: FunnyJunk

Thankfully after some dice banishing, a favorable roll landed and Vola finally hit with a sword strike. Full of rage from her failure to fight when she knew she should not be holding back, Vola enacted divine smite, cutting down the orc attacker with holy radiance. Seeing their fellow raiders fall and realizing the wall breach no longer offered easy entry, two of the orcs turned back, running to rejoin the main force at the gates.

—– MAIN GATE —–

Feeling the burn from Ren’s firebolt, the orc cleric shook a bag and slammed it against his chest. A red glow imitated from his chest filling him with magical healing. Sari saw this but had little time to act on it as orcs had started to surround her to support their leader. She casted thunder wave in hopes of clearing away the threat. A massive wave of damage blasted out from her and as my DM said “killed the hell out of an orc” next to her. Unfortunately the hardy leader was not taken down by the wave and unleashed another round of painful attacks on Sariel. She was starting to look really rough and in dire need of help.

Morack up to this point had not joined the fight. Seeing Sari in such a bad state, he ran to her aid, raised his axe, and immediately missed striking the leader. Thanks for the help there Morack. Unlike his fellow dwarf Morack, Larken landed solid blow one right after the other and summarily destroyed the orc healer with his spiritual weapon (a ethereal representation of the scales of Kelemvor).  Adding a little extra insult, Larken yelled out to the dying orc, “Gruumish is a stupid face and Kelemvor is stronger”. Well worded mocking there Larken.

—– BREACHED WALL —–

Only two orcs remained as the others had ran back to the main gate. One of them yelled out to Vola, “Why you stand against Earskeers!?”. Before she could respond, Theren cut the orc down with an eldrich blast. As the final orc rushed in towards Vola she finished the fight taking him out with a searing smite.

—– MAIN GATE —–

Morack did manage to take the orc leader’s attention off Sariel, but that unfortunately left him to get waylaid by the leader. Morack tried to retaliate but missed on his attacks again. Come’on Morack. Dwarves are supposed to be hardy fighters! Bolstered by his overwhelming of this dwarven town leader, the orc boss let out another battle cry to rally his remaining troops.
Sari did not want this to lead to an upper-hand, so she focused a poison spray on the leader, leaving him badly hurt. Larken saw the leader looking rough and decided to finish him off by cutting him in half with his spiritual weapon. He left him with the parting words, “Gruumush sucks Kelemvaor’s balls; enjoy hell!”. So descriptive Larken.
Seeing their leader fall, the reaming three orcs turned back to the forest in retreat.

The battle was over and the town saved, but Vola could not help feeling down about having to kill the orcs. Though they were not part of her father’s tribe, the guilt still gnawed at her. She headed back to the keep with the group to help the villagers back over the moat. Once they started moving the townsfolk back to the main village, Vola realized that two guards were hiding in the keep the whole time rather than helping fight. That really pissed Vola off. She did not want to fight the orcs, but she did it and these cowards hid instead of doing their duty to the town. She picked up a rock and chucked it at one of the guards. OF COURSE after a battle full of misses, I nat 20’ed on throwing a damn rock at the guard. Insult to injury, my DM described the rock as sailing right through the helmet slit and hitting the coward square in the eye.

The party retired to the closest inn for a well deserved drink and a much needed rest. What are the giants up to, and will the group find out what these raiding parties are doing with the Nightstone?

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Unplanned Hiatus

Feature Image Source: Pinterest: Jay Lightwatch

It has been far too long since my last post, and I apologize for the long silence on this page. I have posted a few notes on Facebook and Twitter, but I had not yet posted an explanation here.

Early in 2017, I started to notice some strange health issues. I made the mistake of doing like many women and passing this off as “female issues” that would just resolve over time. Once I finally acknowledged that things were way past normal, I spent the better part of the year in and out of my doctor’s office trying to find some solve to what was happening. My posts started dropping off pretty noticeably mid-year and came to a screeching halt when things were at the worst. I had little to no energy most days and could not give the proper attention that my blog deserved.

As it came close to the end of the year, my doctor suggested surgery that thankfully in the end completely turned things around for me. I decided to extend my break from posting through the holidays as I fully rested and recovered. I have been making outlines and recording sessions though, so I would have all I needed to get right back to posting adventures.
I am happy to say that I am officially 100% recovered and feeling the best I have felt in who knows how long. I am excited to get back to posting (starting soon this week), and I hope to have some announcements soon for a possible new journey I want to take with Cooking for Group. Much, much more to come soon!

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Critical Fest: VeCAKEna

The Feast / The Recipe

For those new to Critical Feasts, these posts are dishes inspired by the show Critical Role. You can see the other Critical Feast posts here. Warning, possible spoilers ahead if you are not caught up to episode 114.

The Feast

This week’s Critical Feast pays homage to the final battle of Vox Machina. All of their training and journeys have led to this final confrontation with Vecna; the want to be God of Secrets. It is going to be one hell of a fight, and I wanted to show Critical Role my thanks for such an amazing story line with VaCAKEna:

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This may be a sweet and delicious treat, but make no mistake, I hope Vecna gets three divine trammels to the face:

And a rage filled sword to the skull via Grog Strongjaw:

Good luck and tons of love Vox Machina. May you squish Vecna tonight like a Slayer’s Cake.  😉

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As we enjoy our sweet justice cake tonight, we will be watching episode 114 of Critical Role live on Twitch. The VeCAKEna recipe can be found below.

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Skull Cake

I purchased this pan to mold the cake in a skull shape. It is a fantastic pan and made perfect shapes for the cake.

The Cake

I found this recipe looking for a modification to cake recipes to make them sturdy for molded cakes. The below recipe is doubled to have plenty for the full mold.

  • 2 Box white cake mix
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 small pkg of instant vanilla pudding mix (I used cheesecake flavor)
  • 2 cup sour cream

These instructions are also modified to follow the instructions provided with the cake mold pan:

Preheat the oven to 325. Incorporate all ingredients together one by one on low speed. Make sure to mix thoroughly between each ingredient. Once all ingredients are mixed, turn mixer to medium and mix for approximately 2 minutes.

Coat the pan with butter or shortening and sprinkle with flour. Fill the cake mold roughly 3/4 full in each side of the mold; tapping lightly on each side to release air bubbles. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes until the cake begins to lift from the sides some and a tooth pick can be inserted in the middle and come out clean.

Allow the cake to sit in the pan for 15 minutes before releasing the cake on to a rack to cool completely before frosting. If your cake has risen higher than the top of the pan, you will need to shave some of the cake off before flipping to the rack. When joining the two pieces together, you may need small wooden skewers to secure the inside if the frosting does not stick them together enough to be stable.

The Frosting

While researching a few techniques to make a good frosting layer for the cake, I found this page with a few different methods. I liked the look of the red devil skull cake, so I used it to make the texture for the main skull covering.

  • 8 Tbs. hot water
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbs. meringue powder
  • Green food gel and Black food gel

To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, hot water, meringue powder and green food gel until smooth. I only wanted a very light green, so I added a very small amount of color gel. If needed, add more hot water to get a thin, pourable consistency for glazing (glaze will harden when cool).

Place cake on a wire rack and pour glaze over the top of the skull. As the glaze flows over the cake, use the back of a spoon to get the glaze into the eye sockets, nose and any other hard-to-reach areas.

Once the glaze is poured over the cake, sprinkle [color of your choice] sanding sugar over the glaze. I skipped this step for mine, but it may add a sparkle/texture you like for your cake. When the glaze has hardened, gently brush off any extra sanding sugar. Remove the cake from the rack and place it on a cake stand using a small amount of icing to secure it to the base.

Make royal black icing (see above recipe, substituting black gel for green, and add more powdered sugar to make a thick consistency). Pipe on mouth features. Now I had  some trouble with the black frosting, so the pictures have fabric as a placeholder while I remake them. For the green eye flame, I used the same method as the eye sockets but used green to make the color I wanted.

The Divine Trammels

The “trammels” are pocky sticks with melted white chocolate rolled over them. I took white chocolate melting wafers and poured them over the pocky on parchment paper. Once the chocolate was starting to harden, but still tacky, I rolled the chocolate into a more rounded shape around the pocky.

Critical Feast: Trinket Treats

The Feast / The Recipe

For those new to Critical Feasts, these posts are dishes inspired by the show Critical Role. You can see the other Critical Feast posts here.

The Feast

This week’s Critical Feast is inspired by the best companion in the world Trinket. Vex’ahlia’s best buddy is easily a favorite among all Critters, and I could not think of a better bear to pay homage in treats.

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I used my favorite cake pop recipe and gave it a little bear paw twist. They’re are not perfect (I am novice on decorating skills), but oh man I love them!!!

Toes!!!!!! Shout out to Delphine on the “claws”. I took that from her owlbear brownies in one of our previous sessions.

It was fun making the little feet. Here they are before the “fur” and “claws”.

As we enjoy our after dinner sweets tonight, we will be watching episode 96 of Critical Role live on Twitch. The bear paw cake pops recipe can be found below.

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Bear Paw Cake Pops

  • 1 box cake mix (I used Pillsbury Funfetti for these)
  • 16 oz container of frosting (I used Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Vanilla for these)
  • oil (for cake mix – see box for amounts)
  • eggs (for cake mix – see box for amounts)
  • 2-3 bags of melting wafers (I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate)
  • almond slivers
  • lollipop sticks or wooden skewers

Prepare the cake as instructed on the box. Once it is ready, set it aside and allow to cool completely. If you try to make the mix while the cake is still warm, the icing will melt and the mix will not hold shape.

Take the cooled cake and crumble it up in a large mixing bowl. Add roughly half of the icing to the crumbled cake and mix together. You want the texture to be soft but firm enough to shape. If the mix is still too crumbly, add more icing a tablespoon at a time until it is a good shaping texture. If you put in too much icing, it may be too mushy to shape so add slowly and test often.

Once the mix is right, shape into roughly half inch size balls. Don’t worry about the shape being perfect at this stage. You will be shaping them fully before you add the chocolate shells. Place them on a plate or cookie sheet as you go and transfer them to the refrigerator to set for at least an hour.

Once the cake balls have stiffened in the refrigerator, take them out and begin shaping them into paws. I flattened the balls into a semi bell like shape and then took a knife to the larger end of the “bell” making cuts for the toes and adding space to they would be defined when I dipped them in the chocolate. Insert your sticks to the back of the paws as you go and set aside.

Melt your chocolate wafers by the instructions on the bag. You want the chocolate runny but not so liquid it will not coat the paws. Take each paw and roll in the melted chocolate. Once you have them coated, lift them out of the chocolate and slowly rotate them so the excess will drip back into the bowl (not too fast or you will have chocolate everywhere).

Set each chocolate covered paw on a plate or cookie sheet (preferably on parchment paper to prevent sticking). Quickly add the almond slivers for the “claws” as you make each one so the chocolate shell does not form before you can insert the almonds into the “toes”. Put the finished paws into the refrigerator one more time to set the chocolate shell completely. This should only take about 30 minutes as the chocolate will harden quickly.

Critical Feast: Practice Chickens

The Feast / The Recipe

For those new to Critical Feasts, these posts are dishes inspired by the show Critical Role. You can see the other Critical Feast posts here.

The Feast

This week’s Critical Feast is inspired by the most wonderful Vex’ahlia and her amazing chicken shooting skills.

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Unlike Scanlan’s servants, I can cook more than just chicken, but I do enjoy roasting a whole chicken and vegetables from time to time. It makes for delicious eats and gives me a perfect base to make some Critical Role target chickens.

I wanted to make the arrows are edible as well, so I combined a Slim Jim jerky base, arrowhead shaped cheese blocks, and some lettuce fletchings to make chicken piercing arrows.

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As we enjoy our roasted chicken and veggies tonight, we will be watching episode 95 of Critical Role live on Twitch. The roasted chicken recipe can be found below.

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Herb Roasted Whole Chicken & Roasted Vegetables

Based on this recipe.

This Pioneer Woman recipe is perfect for making delicious roasted whole chickens. I used a Calpahlon roaster pan with rack to cook the chickens and vegetables at the same time.

For the vegetables, I used zucchini, yellow squash, red potatoes, and carrots. I cut the veggies into small wedges and lined the bottom of the pan with the pieces, making sure to keep them under the height of the rack the chickens would be sitting on. I added a can of chicken broth (14.5 oz) to give a thin layer of liquid to keep the vegetables from drying out. I sprinkled the vegetables with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. The juices from the chickens cooking above the veggies will also add some extra flavors.

The vegetables will cook along with the chickens and should be nice and tender by the time the chickens are cooked fully through.