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In the spirit of the high seas and boundless horizons, I send you tidings from my recent expedition into the Far Reaches. Brace yourself for a dispatch filled with the echoes of distant shores and the secrets of previously uncharted realms.

The following series of events began by Baldur’s Gate where yours truly was accosted by ruffians. Next thing I knew, I was a kidnap victim on an Illithid vessel, but fear not – I quickly fought my way out with the help of a cleric and another fighter. As soon as we’d escaped, the fighter went missing so, in short order, I recruited a rogue, a wizard, a warlock, and a barbarian to accompany me on the. Safety in numbers and all that. From there on, my Forever Party was made up of the cleric, the wizard, and the barbarian.

We arrived at a druid grove that had been beset by goblins from some goblin camp. As it turned out, we were all kidnapping victims and we had been implanted with an Illithid tadpole. We also learned that we had very little time to have these tadpoles removed before they would eat our brains and turn us into Illithids too. This was very icky, but there was justice to be done, and we promised to help the druid grove deal with their goblin problems.

The wizard tried to show me some magic, which I was open to since I’m an Eldritch Knight. Sadly, he turned out to have sexual motives and that’s not the kind of friendship I was going for. I was confused as to why he suddenly wanted to sleep with me. I had not made any moves on him, nor had I been overly friendly. Oh well. At the same time I had gotten to know the cleric a little more and we both noticed there was something of a connection between us. However, for religious reasons, she wasn’t about to get frisky with me, and I totally respect that.

As I lean towards the good side of the alignment spectrum, I opted for some of the most honourable and morally righteous methods to make short shrift of the goblin menace: subterfuge, poisoning, assassination, deception, and terrorism. One glorious genocide later, the goblins and their leaders were all laid out on the ground and the druid grove was safe again.

We threw a party to celebrate our victory, and the rogue thought I seemed open to a little afterparty celebration. I wasn’t sure what he was hinting at, but he soon made it clear he had a bone he wished to bury, and I had to reject him. At this point, if I had a penny for every time a male acquaintance had tried to sleep with me unprompted, I would have two pennies. Which isn’t a lot, admittedly, but it felt weird that it had happened twice. 

After a glass of wine, I did end up snogging the cleric under the moonlight, but that was as far as we went. Maybe my male companions could take a leaf out of my book and learn a thing or two about restraint.

Now came the matter of dealing with the tadpoles in our brains. Obviously, there was no threat of the tadpole actually eating our brain, because we had a McGuffin that completely negated that possibility, but even so, we made our way up the mountain to visit the Gith’yanki who apparently had a method of removing brain tadpoles. Unfortunately, the Gith’yanki met a similar fate to the goblins, but I must admit I lost no good sleep over it. Especially since we had just set camp for the night and feasted on nothing but alcohol and fruit.

Since the Gith’yanki solution had turned out to be a flop, I enlisted the help of a bard I had saved from the goblin camp to help me with the tadpole. One gentle and friendly eye gouging later, I was an eye shorter and the tadpole… well it was still there. 

We now had two options and we figured the best one was to return to Baldur’s Gate from where we had first all been taken. As I had already explored the mountain, I decided to double back and go under it instead to proceed forward. In doing so our group was richly rewarded, and my cleric and barbarian both found themselves equipped with armour that would last them almost to the end of the expedition. Very nice! We also helped some mushroom people and encountered something that resembled a secret boss. That scared the daylights out of me.

While we were trying to rescue some gnomes from slavery, the party warlock thought he might take the opportunity to show me his dancing skills. A cultured patron of the arts, I was delighted, but as it turned out, his “dance” was a euphemism for ‘penis’, and he had planned to put his in me. Maybe it is my face, but every man in our party had now at some point tried to fuck me. It was getting pretty frustrating, and a little uncomfortable. I just wanted to make some friends.

Once we’d passed the underpass of the mountain, we found ourselves in a cursed forest, perpetually shrouded in deadly darkness. Our first order of business was to explore the whole map and dig out all the secrets and good loot that could be found there. After a job well done, we found ourselves in an inn where we had to save someone from a kidnapping. This was our first hard battle, as we had never fought opponents that could fly before.

Learning that this kidnapping attempt had been orchestrated by a bad guy up in a tower, our party went on the trail of justice and challenged him in a most honourable duel. Which is to say, I infiltrated the tower by subterfuge, sabotaged their operation, and culled their numbers by eliminating any people who would not immediately be missed. I also freed all their prisoners. 

The druid who had tagged along with us now formally joined our party, but I already had my dream team assembled, so he remained in camp warming the benches for us. The cleric and I found some moments to develop and deepen our connection, and after helping her with some very difficult and heavy life choices, she finally overcame her previous hesitance in a romance with me. We decided we would go official and began dating, though we took it slow because she still had a lot on her mind. I am nothing if not a gentleman!

After my operation to cull their numbers by half, we finally charged the tower with a small army, making short work of their remaining defences. I rushed up the tower and challenged the bad guy. I did learn a thing or two about him during my spy session so I tried to talk him down first, but he had other ideas. (Which is to say he did surrender, but then immediately got back up to fight anyway).

Two fights later he was dead and, having uncovered a deeper plot by a cabal, it was time to make our way back to Baldur’s Gate. This is where the tadpole business became very pressing again, as it turned out there was an Elder Brain at large. (An Elder Brain is like an Illithid Queen who controls them all and by extension anyone with a tadpole in their brain.) We still had the McGuffin that would keep us safe just a little bit longer, but… 

This whole time I had made myself busy amassing a rather respectable collection of Illithid tadpoles in my backpack, and a friend of mine kept suggesting I should shove them all in my brain. Obviously, that sounded like a terrible idea, so I did not do that.

Upon reaching the main gates of Baldur’s Gate, I met with one of the two other conspirators, aka main villains, and he suggested a truce between us. Considering my good morals and indomitable moral fortitude, I made a mental note to ensure he’d come to regret that decision. This is also when I realised that I had missed a very important piece of gear for my Eldritch Knight armour and had to make a 20-hour detour to go and retrieve it. Oh, joy! Oh, and a second druid joined our party. I found this weirdly redundant, but oh well.

I attempted a little bit of meta-play for fun once I got back to Baldur’s Gate for the third time. Having learned that the second conspirator was a shapeshifter, I decided to greet every known encounter with her with my fist. This worked well the first two times, but on the third try, she had grown wise and not body-snatched anyone, which led to me accidentally murdering an innocent civilian at a circus. Which was quite unfortunate, as I’m sure you will understand, but this is the sort of thing I imagine a DM would do if a player got a little too murderhobo for their taste. Lesson learned!

Finally entering the city of Baldur’s Gate, I set about helping as many people as possible and extending the biggest fist to cave the face in of any bad guys who tried to test me. Because we were so close to the end game, I made sure to act decisively and with strong moral conviction, especially when it came to helping my travelling compatriots. So, when our other fighter was kidnapped by the body snatcher, I made a point of delaying that rescue as long as possible to demoralise the kidnappers and lower their guards. This turned out to be a great idea as, by the time I arrived to do the rescue, the kidnappers seemed so surprised to see me that they didn’t even try to stop me from running up to their leader and delivering my most polite fist to her face.

Now, all this time, I have made myself out to be the kind of person to “shoot first and ask questions later.” That could not be further from the truth. In fact, if I’m sure I’m dealing with bad guys I make sure to shoot twice first, and don’t ask any questions at all. In the event I’m not sure whether the person I’m talking to is a bad guy, I’ll instead ask questions twice, and if they have the audacity to punch me in the face, I’ll politely explain the definition of the word ‘massacre’ with a helpful physical demonstration. What can I say, there’s a sort of catharsis to be had when someone tries to double-cross you only to drop dead 10 seconds later. Perhaps if I’d had an actual backstory to share people would’ve been more polite and known not to cross me.

While helping my companions with their own personal issues, I decided to settle matters with my cleric first as she was my romantic partner. For some context, she had been serving the evil Goddess Shar, and for the life of me, I cannot fathom why anyone would ever worship her. Sharran worshippers are supposed to lock themselves indoors, avoid self-improvement, cut all social connections, stop masturbating, and actively shun all non-believers of Shar. And somehow, they are allowed to have a temple inside the city of Baldur’s Gate. Sharran worshippers are bad people. The only exception we have encountered is a transwoman who just casually decided to find another congregation after we massacred her current one. Make of that what you will.

Anyway, I think that concludes my story of a tentative truce to my budding romance with the cleric. I could include my story with the other party members, but I figured I would leave that for you to find out for yourself, as it is certainly a worthwhile journey should you decide to. I will add that it was about now that the final male party member decided to make his move on me. Having seen me reject the advances of the other men in my party, and very much focusing all my attention on the cleric, the fourth man in my group decides now is clearly a good time to give it a shot. I don’t know what possessed him to think this was ever going to be a thing, but now I have officially rebuffed the sexual advances of all four of my male companions. Why are they so bloody horny?

Oh, and we recruited a ranger to the party too, which I honestly think was a little late for us to do. His stats weren’t even any special, so I had no reason to bring him in. This is about the time I specify that the second druid and this ranger are characters I’ve met in previous journeys to Baldur’s Gate, but I had no reason to buddy up with them, because I didn’t really know them.

When we had settled our personal matters, and literally had unlimited time to do so, it was finally time to deal with the Illithid menace once and for all. I had dealt with the other two conspirators and left them dead and humbled on the ground, and now I would clean up the mess they had made. Despite my knack for throwing hands at the first challenge, I had still made quite a few friends along the way, and now they all came back to support me in my final moments.

Together we charged the Elder Brain, climbed up its head, and drove our weapons deep into its metaphorical face thus saving the city. Being the heroes that we are, we’d come together a final time only to disperse as soon as possible after the mission had been accomplished and have the least ceremonious departure from one another I have ever seen.

Oh, well. We live and learn and there’s always another adventure to be had.


C.F. Sten, Chronic(ling) Code Crusader


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