The boys have received their first real-world assignments and have been released into the town surrounding Hieronymous Wiggenstaff’s School for Heroism and Villainy! Will “Four Sidekicks Walk Into A Bar” have the boys get into a fun battle, talk their way out of trouble, or find a lawyer to issue a subpoena for the monster? The answer might surprise you (but probably not).
Buckminster Eden and Leon are working with Argo, and Rainer is working with Sir Fitzroy and the firbolg, who still doesn’t have a name but is either called “Master Firbolg” or “Dr. Mushroom,” although Griffin acknowledges that Bud has already taken hold. I’ve also seen him called “[Redacted]” and simply “???,” both of which are very descriptive.
Travis describes the rules of this test, which includes a long description of how the school has offered them a line of credit, how much they have to spend, how they should avoid racking up more costs than they have money to cover, and what will happen if they do.
Griffin: “So accounting isn’t just a goof, apparently, I am learning now. It is a very important game mechanic for this season of The Adventure Zone.”
Travis: “Yes! Wait, you thought you were just going to go out there and just spend money willy-nilly? No, sir. Every gold must be accounted for, that includes if you do damage like in a bar fight or one of you gets fight by the city watch…”
Apparently, a big part of their grade is staying inside their budget, and all of this just backs up my running theory that the Evil designation (which causes heroes and villains to be forced into retirement) is just what the Board does when a person gets too expensive.
The boys leveled up, so we got some character updates! Argo’s rogueish archetype is Swashbuckler, which makes his sneak attack even more powerful and makes me just a little sad I went Arcane Trickster with my first rogue; Fitzroy’s barbarian path is the Path of the Wild Soul, which gives him more magical abilities (which we all know Fitzroy loves), and when he rages he has to roll on a wild magic table. Justin says his firbolg “rushed” Circle of the Forest, which gave him some fun forest-themed abilities like spider climb and barkskin.
Do you guys remember when I complained that the last episode was too combat-heavy so I didn’t have that much to review? This time, “Four Sidekicks Walk into a Bar” is too shopping-heavy, which I also don’t want to review that closely, so really this is just what I deserve. I barely enjoy shopping montages when I’m the one making purchases, so listening to the boys shopping only holds as much entertainment as they inject into it out of character.
The group stops by Barns and Nobles (for people who work in fields and also for the nobility) run by a mouse and a tabaxi. Fitzroy buys a cloak that gives him +2 charisma, and the very next thing he does is use it to get free drinks at a tavern, calling himself an influencer. “You should not have given me this cloak,” Griffin says, with what I can only imagine is a shit-eating grin. Travis immediately agrees.
But this episode is about how four sidekicks walk into a bar, so once the shopping montage is (finally) over and the drinks are swindled, the group learns more about what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re heading to a mine, where the miners didn’t learn anything from the Fellowship of the Ring and dug too deep, releasing some sort of monster. The crux of the matter is that insurance adjusters are trying to figure out whose fault it is and who to pay the claim out to, if one can be paid out at all.
(Is anyone else just loving this emphasis on how corporate greed is the real evil?)
As Travis explains the monsters they (may) have to fight at the bottom of the mine, Griffin interrupts. “You’ve chosen an extremely Georgia O’Keeffe monster for us to fight against, Travis, I hope you know this. Just look at pics of xorns.”
Did I immediately google “xorn 5e,” expecting a monster with a spooky-scary mouth shaped like a vagina? Yes. Is that what I found? Also yes. These monsters have been in all editions of Dungeons and Dragons because what’s scarier than vagina dentata, am I right?
Instead of deciding to jump right into fighting, the boys go with Griffin’s riff that they should simply use a subpoena to get the xorn to do what they want it to do. “That’s how it works in real life!” he says, as though showing a fire elemental a piece of paper will end in anything other than the paper bursting into flame.
Today’s episode stops before they get into fighting, and the next episode won’t come out until January 16 due to the holidays, so we have some time to think about how things are moving forward. What do you think about Travis’ adventure so far?
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