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S23 E15 - A Road To The Finals
Last time on Hell’s Kitchen... The final four each got a visit from their siblings, who became judges in their final Black Jacket Challenge. Tamina‘s dish left a bad taste in the judges’ mouths, including her brother’s. In the end, Brett scored a nearly perfect score of 22, and won the challenge. At dinner service, each of the chefs took a turn to run the kitchen to become the Co Head Chef at Hell’s Kitchen Lake Tahoe. Tamina’s performance on the appetizers...led to a hault. And so did Rod’s undercooked chicken. However, Brett performed the best in leading his brigade, while Tamina was a hot mess throughout the night, and during the elimination Ceremony, Chef Ramsay has eliminated Tamina, ending her dream of becoming Co Head Chef at Hell’s Kitchen Lake Tahoe. After Intro Bella was surprised as she made it to the final three, and found out that she was excited to go far in the competition, and was close to getting to the finale and winning the competition. Brett was in the same mood for getting into the finale as he firstly got the Black Jacket, and then got into the final three, and the other two things on his list that he wants to get done is getting into the final two/the finale and winning the competition so he can go to Hell’s Kitchen Lake Tahoe to become a Co Head Chef. Later that day, Chef Ramsay asks the final three chefs to meet him by his office as there was a special present waiting there. Chef Ramsay revealed the first surprise coming out the door was members of Bella’s family, which had her husband, Alejandro, and her oldest children, Ricardo and Sofia. Bella was excited to see her husband, and she walks up to him and hugs him. She also walked to her children and kisses them. The next surprise revealed through the doors were members of Rod’s family which had his mom, Carole and his girlfriend, Kate. Carole was crying in tears, and went up to hug Rod, saying that she missed him, and Kate asked Rod how he was doing, and Rod answered that he was doing great. Brett was still waiting for his surprise, and Chef Ramsay reveals the final one from the open door, which surprised Brett, as he saw his wife, Tammy and his infant son, Jon. Brett mentioned that he was missing his one year old son’s birthday from making it get far in the competition, and Tammy told him that he can do better. Chef Ramsay had the chefs spend a quality time with their families, and as the final four spend some time with their families, Tammy asked Brett who his biggest competition was, and he pointed to Bella and her family, and mentioned that she was the love of his life, and Tammy said that he was already married, and cannot get a second girlfriend, and Brett also learned about the fact the she was married, as he saw her husband through the doors. When Carole, Kate and Rod talk about getting far in the competition, Kate was asking if he can cook better than the other competitors he was going against, and he said that he definitely can, despite being arrested twice. The first time since he was 18, and the second time when he was 21. Carole said one fact about her life, that she has been away from her husband, who served in the Navy, and Carole felt like it was a difficult time hanging by herself, and wished to talk to him. Bella, Alejandro, Ricardo and Sofia have their conversation about getting far in the competition, and Bella said that she was the only one left in the competition so far, who has yet to be nominated and mentioned that she never will. Ricardo told her if she has faced a difficult time during the competition, and Bella mentioned that she has faced some difficulties while working in the kitchen, especially when some people were making mistakes during dinner service. After twenty minutes of talking, and spending quality time with their families, Chef Ramsay tells the final four to say goodbye to their families, as they have a different surprise awaiting their journey. Chef Ramsay has told them that their family members will be arriving to see a show at Lake Tahoe’s theatre, but he tells them that they have a different approach. Chef Ramsay gives them tickets to go to Lake Tahoe. Semi - Finale Trip Chef Ramsay sent the final three chefs to the airport to board their plane to Lake Tahoe, and Chef Ramsay finds out that there are a couple of fun and surprises there when they arrive there, and Chef Ramsay jumped on his helicopter leaving the chefs at the airport to catch their plane to head to Lake Tahoe. When the final three get on the plane, Bella had no idea what surprises that she, Rod nor Brett were going to experience. Were they going to a restaurant for dining. Brett told her to relax, and mentioned that she will find out what it is, when they get there. The first part of the final three’s break, is that they head to the mountains to ride snowmobiles, and Bella got excited as she never been on a snowmobile before. When the final four begin their snowmobile ride, Rod sees the lake on the right side, but said that it was blocked by the trees, and Brett mentioned that it was nice to get out of Hell’s Kitchen for a day, as he felt like it was a challenge win for him. Bella called it a thrilling ride. The next part of their final three break is that they head to Harrah’s hotel and casino, and when they enter the suite, Rod called the suite gorgeous, and Bella felt that there was a bar, filled with sushi, caviar, and more fancy foods, and when the final three made a toast to getting to the semi-finals, Brett mentioned that he wanted to go snowmobiling again, as it was very nice, and wondered if they had snowmobiles in Philidelphia, and Bella said that he was from the Northeast, so they might have them there, and Brett said that Lake Tahoe was the better place to go snowmobiling, and felt like he wanted more tickets. Final Tasting Challenge Later that day, Chef Ramsay arrives with Sous Chefs, Christina and Jay, and asked them if he had a good time, and Brett mentioned that he liked it, including the snowmobile ride, impressing Rod, who called him crazy. Chef Ramsay said that for the Final Tasting Challenge, they will each have a mentor, but Chef Ramsay said that there was three contestants left, and three staff members, but Chef Ramsay said that he will not be mentoring, instead Chef Ramsay invites back Season 19 winner, Kori, as Bella was excited to see her again, and runs up and hugs her after seeing her during the Signature Dish Challenge Reward back from the beginning of the competition, and Bella was hoping that she would be getting her as a mentor, as they both had Latin backgrounds, and Chef Ramsay told her to wait and see what card she got, and he mentioned that each mentor has a diamond card, an ace card, and a Jack card. Chef Ramsay decides that Bella would go first, as she was hoping to get Kori. The card that she pulls out is an ace, and Chef Ramsay had mentioned to the mentors to show who had the ace card. Christina showed the ace card, disappointing Bella, but she felt fine with Christina as she worked with her, due to being the red team’s sous chef. Chef Ramsay then had Brett go. The card Brett pulls out is the diamond card, and Brett had Kori as his mentor, thus leading Rod with Jay as his mentor. For the Final Tasting Challenge, each chef had to recreate a menu which featured a cold appetizer, a hot appetizer, and three entrees that featured seafood, chicken and red meat for one hour, and has the Sous Chefs help them with their cooking, and Chef Ramsay announced that the person with the lowest number of points will automatically be eliminated and not advancing to the final 2. Each chef will be judging from a scale of 1 to 10. (Skips cooking) First up, Ben Ford will be tasting the cold appetizer. Bella presents a Rattitouille Zuchinni Bruschetta, and Ben asked Bella if she was on a diet, and Bella said no, she was going to be in the finale. When Ben tastes the appetizer, he found out that there was good flavour, and he awards her 7 points. Next, Rod presents his marinated goat cheese, and Ben finds it too rich, and Rod gets 5 points. Next, it is Brett who judges his Fava and Ricotta toast, and Ben finds the melting in his mouth, and Brett gets awarded with 9 points. Bella - 7, Rod - 5, Brett - 9. Next up, Bobby Flay will be tasting the hot appetizer. Bella presents her Beef Taco Roll-ups, to present her Mexican Roots, and Bobby finds that flavour is there, and he gives it a 9. Rod presents his squid risotto, and Bobby finds that it had a lot of flavour, and the rice is perfectly cooked, and gives him an 8. Brett presents his Sausage stuffed mushroom caps, and found that the presentation is underwhelming, and Brett is given 6 points. Bella - 16, Rod - 13, Brett - 15 The next chef to judge the seafood entrees will be Ina Garten. Bella presents her buttermilk fried lobster with fried rice, and a salsa to go on the lobster. Ina liked the combination of salsa going with the lobster, but it looked more of an appetizer than an entree, and Ina gives Bella 6 points. Rod presents his balsamic glazed salmon with asparagus and polenta. Ina told him that the fish is glistening, and Rod is given 8 points. Brett presents a pan seared sea bass with fettuccine in a pesto sauce, and Ina tells Brett to taste the pasta, as it was lacking salt, and Brett was given 5 points. Bella - 22, Rod - 21, Brett - 20 The next chef judging the chicken dishes is Giada DeLaurentiis. Bella presents her chicken roulade, and Giada finds that the chicken is juicy, and Bella was awarded 8 points. Rod presents his chicken Parmesan with noodles in a butter sauce, which was given praise, and also was given 8 points. Lastly, Brett presents his General Tao Chicken which was too sweet and Giada gives it 6 points. Bella - 30, Rod - 29, Brett - 26 The final person who will be judging the red meat dish, will be a guest who judged the International Soup Challenge. It is Wolfgang Puck. First, he tries Bella’s hangar steak with a mushroom gravy, mashed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Wolfgang finds the steak cooked medium-rare, and her gravy tastes good. Bella garners a perfect score of 10. Next, Rod presents his NY strip with a mint pea risotto, and Wolfgang gives praise, gaining a score of 7. Lastly, Brett presents his beef stew served with fresh garlic bread, which needs a perfect score of 10 to tie, and while Wolfgang finds it tasty, he gives it a score of 9, eliminating him, leading Bella and Rod to be the finalists. Bella - 40, Rod - 36, Brett - 35 Chef Ramsay congratulates Bella and Rod for making it to the final 2, and told Brett that he was just too close to tying but it was not that good to get a score of 10. Chef Ramsay told them in order to run a brigade to become he Head Chef at Hell’s Kitchen Lake Tahoe, they have to run a brigade of other people, and he welcomes back the returning chefs... ...Chloe, Tabuki, Arabelle, Becca, Marvin, Erykka, Tamina, and told Brett to join them. Since Bella had the most points in the Final Tasting Challenge, she gets the first pick for her brigade. The first person Bella picks for her brigade is Brett because she knows that he was a talented person to have a brigade, and that his cooking is decent. For Rod’s first pick for his brigade, he chose Becca, as she was a strong woman, and felt like her cooking was on point. The next person that Bella wants on her brigade is Tabuki because she does not want any drama kings or drama queens in her kitchen, and felt that Tabuki had the level to grow and mature. The next person that Rod picks on his brigade is Marvin because he’s got a good palate. Next for her brigade, Bella picks Tamina as she was very creative, while Rod picks Erykka for his team, as she had a few bumps, but was hoping not to be left with Arabelle on his team. The last pick is between either, Chloe or Arabelle, and Bella did not want either of them, as Chloe makes a bunch of mistakes during service, and with Arabelle, she felt like she was not a team player, and had the drama. Bella has decided to pick Chloe as her last choice, leaving Rod with Arabelle, as he felt his team would be anybody but Arabelle. Bella (red kitchen) - Brett, Tabuki, Tamina, Chloe Rod (blue kitchen) - Becca, Marvin, Erykka, Arabelle
18th place: Jake
17th place: Irene
16th place: Angelina
15th place: Gabby (ejected)
14th place: Harry (hospitalized)
13th place: Chas
12th place: Blake
11th place: Scottie
10th place: Chloe (Cook for your Life)
9th place: Tabuki
8th place: Arabelle
7th place: Becca (2nd round of Black Jackets)
6th place: Marvin (3rd round of Black Jackets)
5th place: Erykka
4th place: Tamina
3rd place: Brett (Final Tasting Challenge)
Finalists: Bella and Rod
Next time on Hell’s Kitchen... It is the last episode, and the finale gets to the boiling point, where either a red jacket or a blue jacket pulls it off, to win the competition, and become the Co-Head Chef at Hell’s Kitchen Lake Tahoe.
Original Viera Voice 7: With the release of Shadowbringer came a new race, Viera. As with many other races players can choose one set among a certain amount of voice sets when they create/fantasia their characters. Viera Voice 7 as of 5.0 is like this https://youtu.be/Lo2XtnYpnIg , but since 5.1 it has been changed completely. The old sounds were bugged and appeared to be that of an old woman having an orgasm.
Pixel Dodge: This is how most MMOs work, that our character's model is actually "compressed" in one single point/pixel. Not "compressed" in the literal meaning, "compressed" as in "only that single pixel matters when considering hitboxes". This is very relevant in dodging AOE, sometimes you can see parts of your body being inside the telegraphed marker, but you don't get hit. As long as that single point is out of the danger zones, you will be fine.
Clip onto Cliffhanger: Cliffhanger is a GATE in the Gold Saucer, in the Round Square, that requires you to do a mini jump puzzle to get to the top of the mountain. When the GATE pops, you would need to talk to the NPC and get teleported to the startpoint. The thing is, you can actually get on top of the mountain whenever you want, without having to initialise the GATE or even have the GATE present. From here https://imgur.com/a/ldTj0Ls, you can actually jump to here https://imgur.com/a/JlOVSa4. You might not get it on the first try but if you keep trying and jumping, you'll eventually get it.
Edda's Ghost: Edda is a character in the Tam-tara Deepcroft Hard questline. The story is tragic and gruesome. You can find a full summary of the story of said questline here https://www.reddit.com/ffxiv/comments/2a9wji/tamtara_lore_welcome_to_creepsville_spoilers_all/ When you complete Tam-tara Hard, there is a 1%(?) 0.1%(?) (I don't remember the actual probability, I just know that it is small) chance that Edda will spawn (for you only) in one of the main three cities. This is a known feature. The myth is that some players claimed that they saw Edda's ghost without completing the Tam-tara Hard questline. Edda also appears in Palace of The Dead as a boss once you reach a certain floor.
Gold Saucer visible: The Gold Saucer is visible in the background of Southern Thanalan, like the way Idyllshire is visible from Hinterlands and Eulmore is visible from Kholusia.
Comfort Misery: The debuff status "Misery" can actually be cleansed using /comfort on the affected target. It first appeared in the LV50 dungeon The Lost City of Amdapor. There are gremlin mobs in said dungeon that cast "Foul Mouth" it will apply a "Misery" debuff on you. It cannot be cleansed with Esuna, but it can be cleansed with /comfort. This is a known feature. It DOES NOT work on yourselves though, it has to be from another player so if you wanna test it make sure to have at least 2 people.
Retainers in Overworld: Retainers can actually be seen in the overworld, gathering resources. Like Edda, they also have a chance of appearing. They appear as untargettable NPCs, like the other untargettable NPCs you can see in many other places. This is a known feature.
GM Jail: It is a place where you get pulled in by a GM. Apparently it is actually not instanced, and most of your actions are disabled, including teleport and return. The only thing that appears on your screen is the chatbox. This effectively serves as an in-game jail, where players who committed misconducts are pulled in there and get a warning/a strike/a temporary ban/a perma ban from a GM. When you are released, you will not be released to where you got pulled from, you will be released to the aetheryte that you set as your return point (so probably Limsa).
Crystarium 2005 Tech Demo: The original video itself is from 2005, but this video from 2007 pretty much sums it up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgtZvn5c4e4 It is a Tech Demo from two thousand and five, fifteen years ago that depicts a city with a striking resemblance to the Crystarium.
Cloud Strife Dialogue: It is an easter-egg in game that you can find under System > Character Configuration > Log Window Settings > General then click on one of the 4 Log Filters. It looks like this https://imgur.com/a/Se7IiHB. Each line in each tab of the filters has its own Cloud line.
Open air wedding chapel: Wedding, referred to in-game as "Eternal Bond" or simply "EB", is a ceremony between two players where they get "married". The ceremony is in the Ivory Chapel in East Shroud, many of you might already be very familiar with it. The wedding concept in FF14 however started with an open-air wedding style instead of indoor, unfortunately I can't seem to find the reference picture.
Hidden Gilgamesh in OST: Way back in 2.3/2.4 there was one of the many FFXIV OST albums was released for purchase. One of the tweet from the FF14 twitter after the release of said album was this https://imgur.com/a/PdnnUF8 it referred to a locked file within the album that contains the track "Battle of the Big Bridge". The password to unlock said file is "gilgamesh".
Back masking in Tam-tara Hard theme: Backmasking is a recording technique in which a sound or message is recorded backward onto a track that is meant to be played forward. Backmasking is a deliberate process, whereas a message found through phonetic reversal may be unintentional. This is probably related to Edda and her creepy questline.
Housing Void: There is a glitch in FFXIV where you can go out of bound in a house. With a certain specific set up, consisting of Troupe Stages and certain beds, you can see what it's like "outside" of a house. It's a square box with non-smooth texture within a completely dark background, if you fall into it you'll fall forever.
Meol is just bread: Meol is the food given by Vauthry to the poor people living in Kholusia. It is actually made of sin eaters, so if one eats that, one to an extent "is" a sin eater. Vauthry has the ability to control sin eaters, that's why he does that. This is probably a meme related to this, in line with the saying "x did nothing wrong".
Dun Scaith Ultima: The 24 man raid Dun Scaith, when first released, had a completely different third boss, the Succubus. After a certain FanFest (I forgot which FanFest) where players who attended got to do a fight with the Proto Ultima, they decided to change Dun Scaith's third boss to Proto Ultima. There is actually still a way for you to fight the original third boss, the Succubus, whereas ALL 24 players in that instance must not have accepted the Proto Ultima questline. As long as ONE of the 24 players in Dun Scaith has accepted the Proto Ultima questline, you will get Proto Ultima as the third boss.
0:00 Titan clear: Titan is one of the more notorious primals in FFXIV. This is probably a meme referring to a bug/glitch that would give you an instant win over one of the Titan fights.
King Moogle self-kill: Thornmarch and Thornmarch EX, are primal fights released in 2.2, so like... 6 years ago. In the Extreme version you would fight King Moogle and his 8 lackeys. Unlike most other fights, this one does not have a hard enrage. You are supposed to reduce the lackeys' HP to very low, but not zero, then kill one, the king would then refill all of the lackeys' HP to full at the cost of his own HP. You can only do this twice before the "enrage". Basically you damage the main boss by damaging the adds. If you just kill one lackey for example, the main boss would only lose a little of his HP, compared to a big chunk if you have all 8 at very low HP then kill one. After the second time of doing that, King Moogle will cast his Enrage, dealing a fix amount of... 30000 damage. The cast is super long, like 15-20 seconds. In 2.2, that is more than enough to kill everyone. But in 5.2 where everyone has 120k HP and the tanks have like 170k HP, if you do this fight unsync, no one would do it the legit way. They would just quickly kill 2 lackeys, then the main boss because unlike other hard enrages where it just outright kills you regardless of how much HP you have, this fight's enrage is fixed at... 30k damage per cast. Non healers can survive 5-8 casts, healer can survive infinite casts, so there is no point of doing this the correct way when unsync.
Urth's Fount (Extreme): This is a primal fight release in 2.5, where you fight Odin. This fight does not actually have an Extreme version, only a normal version. This is one of the few primal fights to not have an Extreme version. Urth's Fount Extreme is probably a meme related to this.
Koji Fox Vocals: Koji Fox is the lead of the English localisation team for FFXIV. He is famous for the plethora of pop culture references within the game, and also a lot of sexual innuendos. He is also a member of the FFXIV band along with Soken and other members, where he actually is the lead vocal. Some of the in-game OSTs are actually Koji's singing, namely "Locus" (Seeking the peace of reason, Sheep in a peaceless season...)
Warrior of Light is a primal: This is theorised long before, where... we the WOL, is a primal.
Y'shtola aethersight is killing her: After using her kaboom ultimate to escape in the conclusion of 2.5, she got lost in the Lifestream and became blind. She is now "seeing" with aethersight instead of her eyes, and it is theorised that if she keeps on doing this she will die.
Zenos died in Ala Mhigo: Zeno died in the conclusion of 4.0 after we fought him, he then body hopped to a resistance soldier then later body hopped back to his actual body, thanks to the artificial echo. This is a meme related to that.
Crowd Noise Lalafell: If you go to a crowded city and turn off all the sound excepts for the "Ambient Sound", you will hear a lot of chatters with occasion laughter and shouting. The lalafell noise definitely replays over and over along with the "UGHHH" sound right after. This is automatic and is part of the game even if no players are actually emoting. It's specifically Lalafell /happy voice 1.
Chocobo Summoning in House: A Chocobo as a mount and a choboco as a companion, under normal circumstances cannot be summoned in a house. There is probably a glitch that allows it, but I don't know about said glitch. It might also just be a meme.
Note: From this point onward (the third row), there appears to be less and less known features and more memes.
Desynthing Minion: Minion cannot be desynthesized. There might be a glitch that allows it, but I don't know about it. This is probably a meme.
Nanamo really died: Nanamo got "poisoned" in 2.5, we all thought she died back then but it turned out that she is still alive. It might be theorised that the current Nanamo we see is not real and the actual Nanamo actually died. This one is in the same line as the Zenos one. This one probably might just be a meme.
Miqo'te hidden human ear: Miqo'te have cat ears on top of their head instead of on the side. Probably just a meme.
Totorak Hard mode theme: Many of the old dungeons get a Hard mode version in later patches. Totorak is considered by many players to be long and tedious, especially if you get it in a leveling roulette. There is no Totorak Hard dungeon in the game, so this is probably a meme related to that.
Fattest Cat: Fat Cat is a minion. Fatter Cat is a mount. "Fattest Cat" is an easter egg found in the second boss of the LV70 dungeon "The Drowned City of Skalla", released in 4.1. You can see it here https://youtu.be/d6bUC9_Vy6M?t=132 This is actually an old FFXIV standard of naming skills, and some of it are still present to this day (Straight Shot -> Straighter Shot for example). Fattest Cat is probably a meme referring to that.
Midgardsormr blood in Mor Dhona: It is said that the blood of said dragon can be seen in Mor Dhona, but I think this is probably just a meme.
West Shroud: La Noscea has both Western La Noscea nad Eastern La Noscea, Thanalan has both Western Thanalan and Eastern Thanalan. The Black Shroud used to have both West Shroud and East Shroud in 1.x, West Shroud got removed in 2.0. Many players want the zone back.
A8S Temporal Loop: In A8S (The raid "The Burden of the Son" released in 3.2) if you ignore the mechanics for the 4 robots, it’s normally a party wipe. If you do it unsync, the wipe is actually possible to survive, but it’ll reset the fight to the beginning by respawning the first enemy robot if it detects any surviving players. The 3.x raid series/The Alexandre raid series also featured some time traveling elements, most notably in A12/A12S, where there is a mechanic that makes us go back in time to save ourselves in A11/A11S. The fights A11/A11S themselves have some foreshadowing to this too. This is probably a meme related to that.
Thancred still possessed: Thancred was possessed by Lahabrea back in ARR. He is now not possessed anymore so this is probably a meme saying that he is still possessed.
Lyhe Ghiah Door pattern: When doing treasure maps, sometimes you come across a portal that leads you to an instanced "dungeon". Within this place after you clear each floor you will get rewarded with gil and items, and the further you go, the more gil and the more valued items you would get, up to the very last floor. However between each floor you must choose between 2 to 3 doors. Choose right and you proceed to the next floor, choose wrong and you get booted out. The door choosing doesn't actually matter, it's just there for show, you have a set probability of success/failure regardless of which door you've chosen. Some people claimed that they can get the "correct" door every time by examining the patterns on the doors.
Estinien bathing scene: Apparently Estinien was wearing his blood-covered armour for like half of Heavensward, meaning he didn't take a bath for that much time periods. This is probably a meme related to that.
Zenos Sahagin theory: The MSQ part in 2.3, we came across a Sahagin Chef that can hop bodies with the help of the echoes. Zenos also did the same thing. This is probably a meme related to this.
Crystal Tower upside down: I don't actually know anything about this one but I guess it has something to do with the Mor Dhona's Crystal Tower and the Crystarium's Crystal Tower having different visuals.
Gold Saucer Ambient sound: If you teleport to the Gold Saucer and turn off all the sound except for the ambient sound, what you hear can be quite eerie/creepy, ironic to a supposed jovial-casino-themed establishment.
Hunger Bar: Hunger Bar is a reference to Minecraft where players have a bar displayed as drumsticks which regulates the player's certain abilities. In FFXIV we can have a meal, but we are not required to have a meal to function properly. This is a meme related to that.
Mahjong Fifth player: Mahjong is a 4-player game that was added in 4.4. So first I read this comment https://old.reddit.com/ffxiv/comments/hs0fi5/the_iceberg_of_final_fantasy_14_secrets_and/fy8292l/ but coincidentally, I am actually a semi-pro Mahjong player IRL. I have actually reached the highest rank (10th Dan) 8 months ago in November 2019, and I currently am the first and only 10th Dan player in FFXIV. I also have a really high rating. https://imgur.com/a/DTe2bNo This one I can personally confirm that there is no such thing as Gonma or 5th Mahjong player or any additional Mahjong questline in FFXIV. This is an obvious meme.
Unique Scylla Robe: The "Scylla's Robe of Casting" and "Scylla's Robe of Healing" are drops from the 24-man raid Syrcus Tower. Their similarity in visual between the 2 robes are probably what made this meme.
Reflection Texture: Mirrors exist in the FFXIV universe. Some housing items are actually mirrors, like this makeup set https://imgur.com/a/6l2BVWT, but as you can see it is always deliberately covered, because reflection texture in game would probably be too much, hence this meme.
Exarch clone: Probably a meme related to the many Crystal Exarch clones running amok, and one we've seen in the 2019 Halloween event.
Dress up Flash game on Mog station: Probably a meme related to Fantasia.
Triple Triad empty card: A glitch occurred in a Triple Triad game in which you have an empty card. There was actually a thread and a video about this glitch, but I cannot find it right now. I will update this post when I find it.
Note: Most of the terms in the bottom row are memes.
Dialectics of the Baldesion Arsenal: Baldesion Arsenal or simply BA, is a 54-man dungeon released in 4.55 with the latest installment of Eureka, Hydatos. Eureka itself is kinda like a totally different world compared to the rest of the game (both literally and metaphorically). When Eureka was in its prime, instances were often full, and if you zoned in a Eureka instance you would find things on /shout chat like: "Is Louhi up?", "LFG NM prep", "lfg train", "Please rez at (x;y)". BA probably has the same kind of abbreviations referring to strategies, probably even more obscure that led to the birth of this meme.
Stone Sea Sky Numerology: Stone Sea Sky or simply SSS is a featured first released in 3.0, which "mimics" certain fights (often Extreme Primal and High-End Savage Raids), in the form of a dummy with a set amount of HP. This amount changes depending on which job you are. It is supposed to be a personal DPS check to see whether you have the DPS to clear the encounter, it might or might not be accurate. This is a meme related to that.
Thancred Infertile: Probably a meme related to Thancred's inability of having children.
Black Parse: Parsing is the act of using ACT (heh) or Advanced Combat Tracker, a 3rd party tool to calculate one's DPS. A parse can also be called a "log", and said log can be uploaded to a website called "FFlogs", which ranks players based on those logs. Each fight and job has their own percentile of DPS, and each percentile tier has a colour associated with it, with 0-25 being grey, 26-49 being green, 50-74 being blue, 75-94 being purple, 95-99 being orange and 100 being gold, hence terms like "Grey parse", "Orange parse". There is no percentile that has the colour black, so this is a meme related to that.
Lord of Verminion Tournament: Lord of Verminion is a mini game added way back in 3.1, you can go to the Gold Saucer upper floor and play with another player. It's basically a MOBA where you control your minions to defeat your opponent's. The game is actually quite fun, I enjoy it from time to time, but there are not many people playing it. There is also a bi-weekly tournament of this game, but the number of participants can be so low that you might see the same names on the leaderboard every time.
PoTD RNG sampling uses number stations: PoTD or Palace of the Dead is a rogue-like randomised dungeon where you must kill monsters on a floor to proceed to the next floor. The layout of each floor is completely random. A numbers station is a shortwave radio station characterized by broadcasts of formatted numbers, which are believed to be addressed to intelligence officers operating in foreign countries. An obvious meme.
Roulette Synchronicity: If you queue for a Duty Roulette, you cannot get a dungeon that has the ilevel surpassing your current ilevel. Many players abused this to get the dungeons they desire, preferably a quick and easy one.
Guildhest parallel universe: Guildhests are... instanced duties like other instanced duties in the game, but less prominent. Some are actually required to progress with the MSQ, but there were no new Guildhests since 2.0. Probably a meme related to that.
Simultaneous Aurum Vale: Aurum Vale is a LV47 dungeon and is notorious because of the jump in difficulty compared to many preceding dungeons. Players suddenly kinda have to know what they are doing and play at least moderately decently, and a small mistake can easily lead to a wipe. Many players express grudge against this particular dungeon. This is probably a meme related to that.
Thank you all if I use any of the threads that you started. Edit 1: Thank you very much for the medal! Edit 2: I was able to clarify a few terms and make some adjustments thanks to the people commenting below.
NOTE: Make Sure before you select any Cup Level Drivers that you still have those picks left to be able to pick them. If you are unsure who counts as a Cup Level Driver pick please see the Xfinity/Truck picks section of the rule book in the link above.
Standings after Week 32
jchurch8073" # +
carpetbeggar" # +
"#" = Rookie "+" = Clinched Championship 4 Position
Clinched Championship 4 Position This Weekend JJohnson48fan and carpetbeggar
Notes: We had a tie for the last Championship 4 spot between carpetbeggar and DaltonTG. The tiebreaker was the best finish in the round of 8. DaltonTG's finishes 10th, 11th, 8th. carpetbeggar's finishes 5th, 7th, 11th.
To those going for the Championship here is the procedure for the Championship next week. If you have any questions please ask in this topic. Once the race starts I'll post the Championship picks from all the sites.
Welcome and congrats on earning a spot to compete for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship. Most important thing first. If you would like you can PM me your picks and tiebreaker questions(listed below). I will post the PM's picks after the race has started.
Here is how this will work. Your 2 drivers will just be scored based on their finishing positions. So 40 for 1st to 1 for 40th and no bonus points available. If there is a tie I have included the first 3 tie-breaking procedures, included in these are 2 tiebreaker questions(listed below) you need to fill out. If needed after that the remaining tiebreakers will go in this order Round of 8 wins, Round of 12 wins, total wins, top 5's, top 10's, most race winners picked, average points scored, Co-Champions.
Again Congrats and Good Luck.
Tiebreaker #1: If tied picks are not the same then the player with the highest finishing driver is the Champion (No need to fill anything out here)
Tiebreaker #2: Pick a 3rd driver for the race
Tiebreaker #3: Where will each Championship driver(Briscoe, Cindric, Haley, Allgaier) finish in the race (Closest combined score to their actual finishing positions will win)
Augmented Alt Character Farming for Independence Day as Summoner
Credit to Maple_'s original post on the profitability of Independence Day farming with alt characters but I believe that you can augment the original process to keep weeklies and summoner loot in mind. The reason why summoner mains would want to spend some more time per burner alt is because of one French bitch named Pietro being the sole source of repeatable support rolls, but only when you reach MAXIMUM friendship with him once per character. Finally, this guide also accounts for the fact that Weekly ARKS quests give a massive bonus to level 50 characters and will provide additional steps for your alt farming to account for weekly missions. By farming alts, you can stand to gain the following every day
~70 Photon spheres
50 MEL, TEC, RNG, and DEX mag food devices
~2 million meseta, double that if doing weeklies on that alt too
1 support roll
35-45 or more glory badges
1 Salon Pass
1 Augmentation +40%
3-4 lambda grinders
10 or 20 of A-C capsules
And some more bonus goods I may be forgetting
Step 0 It pays to prepare
Remember that this method is ONLY available if you only have 2 or less occupied character slots, you can buy additional characters with AC but those additional characters do not represent additional slots!
On 1 or 2 days before the weekly reset, keep in mind that this character will be here to stay until said reset occurs so that you can cash in your extra 2 million meseta
It will pay off to prepare 2 pieces of junk armor level 1 characters can equip in your storage (you get the third piece, sub: weapon barrier as a very early quest reward and can eventually just store 3 weapon subs for future characters)
Progress story mode to at least the end if Ep 3 Chapter 1. This should give your alts enough XP to reach 20 without even leaving the lobby
Already be on top of Yerkes material farming. With daily alts, Yerkes' quests become daily too instead of weekly
Store all other characters' harvesting/fishing supplies, fresh level 1 characters are the most efficient harvesters
MINOR buy some Alba knuckles for storage too
If you have a player shop from premium or fun scratch tickets, it really helps but is totally optional. If you do alt farming long enough, you will have more food devices than actual mag levels you can upgrade (it takes 550 to level a mag from 1) and your extra spheres can be converted into more food devices too, which make major bank in personal shops
VERY OPTIONAL: harvest a million forest tomatoes; it's more convenient to just buy tomato salad
You can also have some ruins sashimi prepared to further augment your burners' harvest ability
EDIT: Buy a tomato salad and craft/buy an Enemy Slayer ring +1 (it has to be +1 exactly) at some point and have them in storage
Step 1: Talk to NPCs and get ARKS rewards
Spam enter to get the talk to Afin quest, then do all of Afin's quests. This is why we have junk armor prepared, so we can do Absolute Unit right from level 1, since its arks quest blocks progression to almost every other arks quest reward
Talk to Cofy and finish all 4 of her quests, then talk to Echo as well
After completing all of Afin's, Cofy's, and Echo's orders, there should not be any more blockage on ARKS quests, spam enter on your ARKS rewards and reach level 20
Talk to Pietro and take his first order, talk to Hans and take his orders to kill 60 volcano dragons and the volcano boss
Step 2 Preparing for subclassing
Talk to Cofy again and she should have 3 new orders, accept all of them and finish auxiliary and subpallete quickly
Don't forget to spend your class skills, use the standard SuFi build
Do an actual quest and go to Time Attack Naverius and fight until you kill the preprogrammed gorango that appears in the first area, then abandoned the quest
Go to Pietro and get his new client orders quest line, including most importantly the quest to get his partner card
Take a drink from the med bay and enjoy your free grinders from your daily ARKS mission, they will be important later
Your second quest is volcano easy mode, this time you fight till completion, bring some FUN point bots too. In volcanoes, you are looking for a fodran (they almost exclusively are in area 2) and your first quest from the Independence Day boss killing quest line
In quests, I always pick up eggs and ??? eggs (I'm also picking up 7*+ weapons now for nemesis grinding) but in early quests, you also want to pick up every weapon you see. If this is a weekly run, hatch violet and synchro for yourself to save some meseta, otherwise send all the eggs to your main
Go to Cofy and take your subclass, it's going to be fighter, the standard SuFi build is fine even though we use fighter main class too in this guide because the only thing our fighter will kill is level 1 zaudans anyways.
Step 3: The Cafe saga: we go to the cafe first to get a major funds injection and to give your harvest/fish meters time to top off, as well as to unlock the Urgent Quest arks mission earlier
Skip the cutscene, and take 1 random franca procurement quest, doesn't matter which one, it will be important for later
Take purple girl's harvesting quest. Then go to some random planet and harvest and fish once, then abandon that planet to go back to the cafe and continue purple girl's quest chain
Her next quest is making a Boosted Enemy Slayer ring, specifically the only ring that costs only 3K and 3 naverius rocks (she also gave you 3 rocks exactly, hmmmm), finish the quest buy either making the ring or retrieving an old BER+1 ring from storage and take her cooking quest next
Now, having hundreds of tomatoes on hand isn't likely so we take a detour and go to Yerkes for his quests and much needed funds
Take from storage: yerkes items, 15 meat and 3 potatoes (double meat and potatoes if it's a weekly run character), xp boosters, pickaxes, fishing rods, stamina drinks, alba knuckles if present, 10 tomatoes/1 tomato salad if present, BES Ring +1 if present, ruins sashimi if you have any
Turn in Yerkes quest, THIS is how alts can cheese a good portion of their income since the alt deletion request timer is daily vs Yerkes' weekly timer, we should have zero funding trouble now for our character's mayfly lifespan
In the personal shop, buy: tomato salad if needed, alba knuckles if needed, heartless impact PA of level 10 or less, 2 weapons with the same name with an element level attached (and make sure at least 1 has 1 affix or more; it doesn't matter if elements match or not, just that both weapons have an element), and 1 random enhancement fodder weapon if you didn't find any from questing. If you actually do have a million tomatoes, exchange 10 of them with the cooking NPC for your salad. IF WEEKLY: buy violet, synchro, and up to 10 grinders too (you want 20 in inventory, 1 for enhance quest, 1 for boosting element quest, 3 for ring enhance quest, 5 per pet)
Turn in the salad to purple girl and get her final quest: enhancing a ring; you should know have all but 1 cafe arks rewards and spam enter again, this should also unlock the salon arks quest and urgent quest arks quest too more conveniently
Step X: Urgent quest
When we get an urgent quest shows up after we get the corresponding arks mission, we drop everything and do it, waiting for UQs is incredibly inconvenient when we want this character deleted ASAP and only want to have it registered for 5 hours max
If its virtual planet, try to do that one 3 times for an extra 10 glory badges but it's not that big of a deal
Virtual planet, wopal, and apple's doritos are especially convenient for working toward the Boss Kill quests of the event, claim these quest rewards as they show up because they block each other in progression I.E. if you kill 6 bosses for the salon pass but don't claim it, additional boss kills do NOT count towards your Augment +40% reward
Step 4: Shopping plaza and your auxiliary
Go to Xia before you forget her and talk to her twice to get her orders, accept both and turn in your meat
Go to Jan and complete his weapon and social quest lines (why game, why can I not accept all of Jan's quests at the same time). THIS is why you have a random weapon and 2 Same Name weapons but walking back and forth between Dudu and Jan gets old fast regardless. Enhance your harmonizer with the fodder, enhance your Same Name weapon with its twin, and affix your gunblade with the resulting element boosted weapon while walking back to Jan in between all steps
While you are here, you might as well enhance your ring too, it should be eligible for level up if you were wearing it the whole time and you will have the rocks available from purple girl's reward. DO NOT ENHANCE BEYOND +1 however, since purple girl's quest only accepts completion if you own a BES+1 ring exactly.
Spend your remaining 5 grinders on 5 xp eggs and feed them into Wanda. If weekly, buy xp eggs for synchro and violet too
Make sure your arks rewards are completely cleared, then talk to the salon lady and make an auxiliary (mine are usually default male human hunter #1 named asdf) and claim your next arks reward: for your auxiliary, you will be double checking your arks rewards between every step so you might as well finish the low hanging fruit quests too like checking out the lookbook or the group chat. Checking out lookbook and talking to the Salon lady notably gives you 3000 fun points.
Go to your personal quarters (available from quick menu) and place your auxiliary console and summon them, claim the arks rewards for 30 photon spheres
Send them on the random franca quest then claim the arks rewards for 30 more spheres, then cancel the search and ditch the client order, the client order space is going to be convenient for Step 5
Step 5: Gambler's paradise
Enter the casino, skip the cutscene, and claim the arks rewards, it only blocks the Talk to Chip quest for a few XP but might as well unblock it
Talk to the casino quest man and take: exchange casino coins, play rappy slots, play black jack, play mesetan shooter, play arkuma slots, take a free drink, use balloons, kill nyau in shooter, kill 3 kings (longest quest but awards a caramel cube), and maybe find graffiti if you already know where it is
Exchange your 500 coins, take your free drink first for marginal (maybe fake?) benefits, and make the rounds with the each casino game, as long as arkuma slots is before black jack before mesetan shooter and you claim your arks reward in between each game, with rappy slots being played at any time. Arkuma Slots' Independence Day event gives 3 more coin passes and unlocks Black Jack's event, Black Jack's event gives 30 glory badges and unlocks Mesetan Shooter's event, Shooter's event gives a triboost.
Even if you only have 500 CC somehow, it should still be possible to do everything, since arkuma slots' event gives another 300 CC to fund all other games
Mesetan shooter is the most optional game; if you don't really care about caramel cubes or triboosters, just play bronze and get out for 2/5 mesetan related quests (I'm assuming anyone can kill a nyau) or alternatively skip this game entirely. If you do care about the caramel cube, play silver until you get 3 king kills, it may take 5-20 minutes
After turning in your boatload of gambling quests, another optional quest appears to score 500+ on arkuma slots. This is pretty easy so I usually take a quick detour to do that as well *Get back to the cafe to finish purple girl's quest line and claim the remaining arks rewards, then go to the gate area and spend your skill points and save your build because YES, this 3-5 hour long character does in fact use multiple builds.
Step 6: the home stretch to mag devices and independence but not the end
Remember Pietro? We still need his friendship card so go do Nightfall Province hard mode (your 3rd or 4th real quest if doing things right) real quick along with any matching client orders, bring the fun bots and START USING XP BOOSTERS, we need them to reach level 30
Friendship with Pietro achieved! Now bring him with you for every quest from now on, we aren't truly grinding his friendship yet but might as well start chipping at it
Get back to Xia if you killed enough falspawn (otherwise, run Ruins Normal and abandon it) and take her next set of orders, turn in your potatoes and get 1 more stamina drink
Go run the first recommended quest quickly on Normal, grab the 3 triboost quests and enjoy more marginal boosters
GIGA HARVEST: (can actually be done any time after Step 3, just posted under Step 6 since it gives xp too. Optimally done when not using an xp boost or if you have enough xp boosters/photon spheres to not care about wasted boost time, especially since you can trade your several spheres per alt for 75% XP boosters) go to your target harvesting planet on normal mode with 3 bot bodyguards, all your harvesting supplies, and a relatively clean inventory (at most, 40/50). Fish until a fever, then harvest and laugh as you level up and get free 100 stamina incredibly frequently as a level 1 harvester. In-between fevers, use stamina drinks to top off both meters and repeat the process until all harvesting sources are gone. You always want to harvest during a festival, fishing is just a means to power up the fever. This process may take up to 30 minutes if particularly lucky/unlucky.
XP egg shopping trip: top Wanda to 40 with XP eggs, repeat for viola and synchro if weekly
HOME STRETCH: Harukotan Rush Practice normal/hard mode, take all the matching client orders, bring Pietro and 2 FUN bots, pop your xp/tri boosters and repeat until you have both level 30 and the augmentation pass; 100 enemies and 3 bosses per run is very efficient for both goals; use hard mode if you need XP more, easy mode if you need boss kills more. This step may be unnecessary if you get lucky with urgent quests though, and the highroll assumption is that you only finish rush practice runs after you finish the urgent quest so UQ runs can count towards boss kills too
Step 7: Fuck you Pietro, my best friend
Now onto the main difference between my run and maples, support rolls are limited to 1/character but getting there is still tedious and some may rightfully be inclined to skip this step entirely and I would not blame you. Friendship builds with S rank quests mostly and the most efficient way to farm S ranks is to do Supress Zaudan, the first ARKS subquest, ad nauseum on normal mode with only Pietro as your partner, rushing to the end of a small map and killing 4 purple monkeys over and over again until you reach 10 friendship bars. Ugh.
For this final stretch, we will swap to FighteSummoner and equip our Alba knuckles, then put Heartless Impact on right click so that we can at least dash through this drudgery
We go to Supress Zaudan, pop a podcast or netflix, and go on autopilot for an hour, occasionally popping outside the gate to get a friendship gift. "Retry in current block" is your friend here
It appears you need to kill at least 3 normal mobs in addition to zaudans to get S ranks but don't sweat the occasional A, we are going for speed not quality and will be getting plenty of incidental kills anyways
Step 8: Why are we here, just to suffer?
If your character somehow overshot to 40 or is on their way to 50, go do Cofy's advance quest quest line as each one gives 10 capsules upon acceptance
Take her first advance quest quest, kill the Udan, abandon the quest, get Cody's new quest to kill a deeg, go to volcanoes to just kill deeg, accept Cody's last quest than abandon it without even going to the desert
If this is the day before the weekly arks missions reset, your goal is now level 50 and Step 8 now happens before Step 7 but we still abandon those first advance quests
Your build actually matters now so go do pietro's skill point quest, preferably when it can still count towards boss kill quests
We now do the classic floating facility XP grind, preferably with Pietro and 2 real people but those real people may have some complaints against a bot so you wont always be able to have both
At level 45, if you still have boss kill quests, do pietros 2nd skill point quest but otherwise skip it
at level 50, take Pietro's quests to kill super hard enemies with Wanda, viola, and synchro
Take your new weekly missions when they come and try to time them to be accomplished before the Zaudan grind if possible so you don't waste as much time
Step 7 is moved to here now, but now you have to run them at super hard and finish the 60 kills requirement for all 3 pets, yaaaaaay. At least once you finish Pietro's quests, you can swap back to normal mode
Sorry for posting this the day before weeklies reset but there should be another weekly reset before this event ends too
Three Illegal/Underground Tavern Ideas for Your 5E Campaign.
The idea behind these taverns is that they are illegal and exist in the underground of large cities. They can be ran by thieves’ guilds, shady businessmen, corrupt officials, etc. Patrons might be criminals, risk-takers, gamblers, thrill-seekers, adventurers, spies, bounty hunters, and so on. Maybe your PCs have learned that their target/targets will be at one of these locales at a certain time, or maybe they have business of their own. Anyways, I hope you enjoy these three unique, illegal tavern ideas. The Sunken Labyrinth: For an illegal, underground establishment, it is a classy place. The entrance is guarded by a pair of jet black Minotaurs(MM pg. 223) named Dolothrius and Vangrios. Entry is granted by a well-known patron’s valid invitation, or by the password of the day. The door is banded, riveted metal, and heavy. It has 18 AC and 40 HP if the PCs try to break it down. The Sunken Labyrinth is a tavern where secret meetings, negotiations, and deals can take place. Valuable information can be passed here due to a ward against scrying eyes permeating the tavern. Those who wish to enter with force will find it difficult as they will have to pass through a maze that is dark and littered with traps. Maybe your PCs have learned that their target/targets will be here at a certain time, or maybe they have business of their own here. If the PCs have the password, or a valid invitation, they can present it to the Minotaur guards. One of the Minotaurs will walk behind a wall, obscured to the PCs, to operate a series of small levers in a specific pattern. Then, he will operate a larger main actuating lever. Once complete, a safe, straight path to the tavern proper is created. Once the Minotaur guard finishes operating the levers (or if the PCs successfully operate the levers), the sound of sliding stone can be heard behind the door, and then the door swings open. A pathway straight into the tavern is available. The pathway goes straight through a series of walls that resemble a small labyrinth. Straying off that path could lead to danger. If the PCs get through the metal door without operating the levers correctly, they will have to navigate the maze to reach the Sunken Labyrinth tavern. View the image of the maze and read the following numerical descriptions to see what happens at those locations. Feel free to adjust these how you see fit. Use the link to the image below to follow the descriptions. https://imgur.com/S2sQALi 1.) A ten foot long hallway leads to the banded metal door. A DC 12 Wisdom perception check will reveal that a portcullis is embedded in the ceiling at the entrance of the hallway, and several small holes line the ceiling all the way to the door. As long as the PCs have the proper password, or a valid invitation, they can pass safely to the tavern. If the PCs attempt to operate the levers, it will require three successful skill checks. The first is a DC 17 Intelligence investigationcheck to study the levers and determine which levers to operate and in which order. The second skill check is a DC 17 Dexterity check to align the levers in the correct positions. The final check is a DC 15 strength check to operate the large main actuating lever. If the PCs fail any of the skill checks, a portcullis drops down from the ceiling and traps anyone standing between the metal door and the portcullis. The portcullis can be lifted with a DC 18 Strength athletics check. Once the portcullis is dropped, poison gas (Essence of Ether pg. 258 DMG) discharges from the holes in the ceiling and fills the hallway. A DC 15 Constitution saving throw is required for any creature in the hallway. On a failure, the creature is poisoned for 8 hours and is unconscious. 2.) This area is a trapdoor pit. It requires a DC 14 Wisdom perception check, or Intelligence investigation check to notice. If activated, a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw is needed, or the creature falls 20 feet and takes 2d6 bludgeoning damage. 3.) A DC 13 Wisdom perception checkorIntelligence investigation check is needed to recognize a pressure plate in the floor in this location and small holes in the eastern wall. If activated, darts shoot from the holes requiring a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d4 piercing damage and 1d6 poison damage on a failed save and half as much on a success. 4.) A DC 13 Wisdom perception check or Intelligence investigation check is needed to notice holes in the ceiling at this location and a pressure plate in the floor. Metallic points can be seen recessed in the holes if the light hits just right. If it goes unnoticed, a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw is needed to avoid the spikes that drop down. On a fail, a creature takes 2d6 piercing damage. 5.) At this location, a DC 13 Wisdom perception check or Intelligence investigation check will reveal a pressure plate and a narrow five foot slit/track in the floor and ceiling that runs east and west. If it goes unnoticed, when a creature activates the plate, the wall marked with arrows will slide to the west and connect to the other wall there. A creature must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw to avoid being shoved into a sealed room. On a fail, the creature is trapped inside. Acid pours from holes in the ceiling. A creature trapped inside will take 2d6 acid damage as there is no means to avoid it. The floor and walls are scarred from previous acid damage. A DC 15 Strength check is needed to push the wall back open. If a creature makes the save to avoid this trap, they may hear acid sizzling on the other side of the wall. 6.) At this location, a DC 15 Intelligence investigation check is needed to notice a Glyph of Warding (pg. 245 PHB) discretely inscribed on the stone floor. If triggered, a DC 15 Constitution saving throw is needed as the glyph releases a Shatter spell (pg. 275 PHB). On a fail, the creature takes 3d8 thunder damage, or half as much on a success. The Glyph of Warding spell ends once it is triggered. 7.) The walls and floors of these two marked locations are covered in mimic hide. The hide resembles the same stone used to make the walls, floors, and ceilings of the maze. It is indistinguishable. A creature that enters this area must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw or become restrained. Once restrained, a creature can continue making this saving throw at the end of each of their turns but it will be at disadvantage. 8.) Here, a DC 15 Intelligence investigation check is needed to identify a Glyph of Warding is discretely inscribed on the stone floor. If the glyph is triggered, a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw is needed to avoid the brunt of the damage of a Fireball spell (pg. 241 PHB) that is released. On a fail, a creature takes 8d6 fire damage, or half as much on a success. 9.) A DC 15 Intelligence investigation check is needed to locate a Glyph of Warding spell discretely inscribed on the stone floor. If the glyph is triggered, an Animate Dead spell is released at 5th level. At each location with a star, a corpse becomes a zombie (pg. 316 MM) and attacks the nearest living creature. On a successful Investigation check, the creature can skip over the glyph, and will discover the three rotten corpses. Nothing of value is on them. 10.) This location is concealed by an illusory wall that perfectly resembles its surroundings and appears as a dead end. A DC 15 Intelligence investigation check will reveal the illusion. Interacting with the illusory wall will also reveal it for what it is. If the PCs reach the tavern, it is dimly lit and quiet. Tables are partitioned for privacy. Four Minotaurs work as tavern guards/bouncers here. The proprietor is a Minotaur Labyrinth Keeper (pg. 267 Creature Codex) named Lubanias the Pathfinder, who often visits his guests to make sure their needs are satisfied. To exit, a main actuating lever within the tavern can be operated to allow safe passage once more. Two human females (commoners) work as tavern maids. An older dwarven male (commoner) tends the bar professionally, and a half-orc male (commoner) prepares delicious meals. This tavern can handle around 25 customers. Much more than that and privacy becomes an issue. The Captive Crowd: The Captive Crowd is a highly-entertaining, albeit illegal, tavern to frequent. To enter this secretive locale, you must pay a fee of 15 GP per person to the Goliath veteran(pg. 350 MM + Stone’s Endurance), Haruul, at the door. Once the fee is paid, you are gifted thick plugs of cotton and are instructed to place them in your ears. When the door is opened, a new patron can faintly make out singing. The tavern room is large and square. Tables line the outer edges of the tavern. The middle is open and a cage hangs from the ceiling 10 feet high off the ground. Inside, a trio of Harpies are prodded to sing. When one harpy has tired, the next one is forced to continue the song. A female half-elf swashbuckler (pg. 217 VGtE) named Jiolli prods them ruthlessly from a raised platform nearby. The harpies are not happy, and would love to shred the flesh of the bones of the people below, sometimes attempting to use their long, bird-like talons to snatch, but to no avail. Below the cage are those patrons who have removed their cotton earplugs to let the enrapturing, seductive, harpy song sweep them away, wandering like mindless zombies beneath the cage. They are lost to the world, and it would be easy to rob them blind if it weren’t for the ten vigilant enforcers (bandit captains pg. 344 MM) who keep a close eye on the charmed and uncharmed patrons. Those who partake in the Harpy’s song do so for the pleasure they feel, and the total relaxation their bodies receive. Strangely, a side effect of being charmed by these monstrosities for a minimum of 30 minutes is like receiving 8 hours of rest. When not ready to succumb to the song, or “take the walk” as it referred to here, the patrons maintain hearing protection. They use hand signals and written word to convey their orders from the menu, or to communicate their intentions. One of the other things that make this tavern illegal is the menu. Imported, exotic animals can be consumed here. One might see a large constrictor snake curled up on a table - baked, sectionalized, and propped up in a pose with a non-native fruit in its mouth. A special glaze dribbled all over the fleshy serpent tenderloins, and colorful vegetables and fruits decorate the tray around it. On another table might be a giant spider hanging from a fake web strand, flame broiled and crispy. Herbs and spices from some other land make this monster quite tasty. Don’t think you can eat spider? Let the harpy song change your mind. A few minutes in the song’s embrace can do wonders. A friend or companion will have to plug your ears when it’s time to eat to bring you back to reality, and the table. As enrapturing as the Harpy song is, it can be much more so when certain drugs are inhaled before you “take the walk”, and of course, those drugs can be purchased here. For 15 GP more, your table can include a hookah bar. An illegally imported, mind-altering plant called Hexweed is the go-to drug to smoke here. The owner of the Captive Crowd is the half-elf brother of Jiolli, named Simmon (master thief pg. 216 VGtE.) Jiolli and Simmon may also be members of your campaign’s thieves’ guild. Perhaps they have information your PCs need. The rest of the employees are commoners: 5 busy tavern maids, two cooks. This tavern can hold 80 or so customers. 120 if packed. Once you are finished here, keep your earplugs in case you want to return (and you will), or throw them away. Nobody wants to reuse those. The Basilisk Den: Do your PCs like to gamble? The patrons of the Basilisk Den sure do. On the left side of the entrance to this illegal casino tavern, a statue of a frightened Halfling male holds a sign that says, “Well, that could have gone better.” A DC 12 Wisdom perception check will reveal that there are no chisel marks on this statue. Either it is from some kind of poured mold, or it was a real person. (It was a real person.) A perceptive werewolf in human form (pg. 211 MM) named Victor stands on the other side of the entrance, taking weapons for storage. He’s good at sniffing out weapons that sneaky patrons might try to hide. Once approved, Victor can give the “knock” that signals entry is granted. Upon entry, it is immediately noted that statues are a common theme throughout the tavern, even up on the 2nd and 3rd floors. They are all in strange, awkward poses. Some with expressions of fear, some surprise, and some with defiance. Some are falling backwards, others on the ground appearing to crawl away from something, some standing in a fighting stance, and strangely, one of them is simply smiling. All sorts of gambling, and games of chance take place here. Cards, dominoes, bone dice, ten-fingerpinfinger (game where you stab a knife between your ten fingers five times as fast as possible, switching the blade from hand to hand), you name it, it’s here. Musicians play upbeat music to liven the atmosphere. But, when the song changes to a slow, yet intense tune, the crowd knows that someone is about to Face the Basilisk. It’s a game of chance that is exactly what the name describes. People from all walks of life come to take this challenge. It is a high risk, high reward game. Pay 50 GP, receive 5 times that if you succeed. But if you fail, you, a friend, or family member better have at least 500 GP for a cleric to restore you back to your fleshy self. If not, you will become a permanent fixture at this fine establishment. When someone is ready to Face the Basilisk, the music begins playing, alerting the patrons of what is about to happen. As the challenger approaches the Basilisk enclosure, the music intensifies, and the crowd gathers, positioned in such a way to not be in the Basilisk’s view. The basilisk handler slides open a hatch, revealing the monster behind bars, but plenty visible nonetheless. The challenger must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or become petrified (they don’t get a second chance in this instance). The music comes to a crescendo then either becomes celebratory, or melancholy depending on the outcome. Should a contestant have second thoughts and avert their eyes, they forfeit their money. There are those on their last leg who scrounge up all that they own to get the coin and gamble it all on this game of chance. There are those who are rich, and can afford to lose, and also afford to be restored afterwards. There are adventurers who have faced these beasts in the wild, and aren’t afraid to do it in this setting. There are statues everywhere. The owner of the Basilisk Den is a cambion (pg. 36 MM) named Heridan, disguised as a handsome human named Brint Valotriss. He walks the floors, checking on his guests, sometimes offering a free round of drinks to certain tables, or dropping a silver or two on a table to help “up” a patron’s bet. He basks in the chaos and misery his casino tavern brings, but also gets a kick out of those who strike it big. There are eight bar maids (commoners) who serve the customers their food and drink, four cooks (commoners), two bartenders (commoners), and twenty floormen (thugs pg. 350) who patrol the tavern watching for cheaters. The floormen are supervised by a large half-orc (veteran pg. 350 MM + Relentless Endurance) known as The Green Ox. Some call him “Grox” for short. He’s starting to come around to that name. The Basilisk Den can hold up to 250 customers. 300 if packed.
Sleeping in a fountain, waking up in a French Orphanage, and $20 jack and cokes.
I've been meaning to put this out there for the public to read but also in a safe space. I feel like this is where I can do it. Also, I go by an alias on this app so I feel better about that. The background to this story is that myself(18 yrs old) and my pal, we'll call him Wilkins(18 yrs old) were about to embark on a journey last june 26th that we will never forget(or remember). We signed up to be on this school trip to go to the South of France and Spain. Our HS let out June 8th so we got in about 2 weeks of partying before the trip. I got arrested at the casino about a week before the trip and about 5 days before the trip my buddy, when realizing that the chaperones were teachers(1 was strict, 1 couldn't give 2 shits about what we were gonna do), wanted a refund for the whole trip. Wilkins was offered a 30$ refund on a 5,000$ trip. Wilkins declined. So the day before, I realize just how far the flight to london is from the east coast of the US. Now I was not a big bar guy and never have been. They scare the shit out of me and I tend to end up in bad situations off them, but I thought it would be good for me to get a lot because of the 2 week long trip and seemingly endless flights that we would be taking. I called this guy who I somehow got the # from, and bought 20 2 mg's. At least that's what I thought they were. The day of leaving for the trip: We arrive at our city's international airport, meet up with the group we would be travelling with. I knew everybody but really only had Wilkins and my cousin who we will just call cousin and a few girls that were cool. About an hour before the flight, wilkins and I take a half each(18 left). The flight to London is 12 hours we figure out once we go through security, so we take another half. Other kids are taking ambiens, valiums, whatever would make them sleep. Wilkins and I swapped people's tickets so we could sit next to each other and we ended up getting the middle section and I was on the aisle with wilkins in the middle and a random dude on the other aisle. 30 minutes after taking off, beverages began to be served and we both agreed to down 3 mixies and pass out. I drank mine, felt tired. Wilkins drank his, felt tired. I drank my second and felt tired and Wilkins drank his second and felt tired. After badgering the flight attendent for a third drink in 20 minutes, she obliged and gave us 2 final mixies to cap our limit within the first hour of the 12 hour flight. I drank mine and the bar had kicked in at this point and I was shot. I blacked out and don't remember much except that my buddy spilled his 3rd drink on the guy next to him before he could have even a sip of it. He found that to be fine and just asked the flight attendent for 1 more drink. He didn't tell her he spilled it, ever. She said he was cut off, and you do not want to tell wilkins he is cut off, especially of a bar. So after watching the flight attendent go to the back of the plane in her little workspace, he proceeded to drag my barred ass to the back of the plane to hound these attendends for another drink. I guess at this point I realized I could use another one to fall asleep. We get to the back of the plane and he is screaming, telling the attendents he needs his screwdriver asap and I get in on the badgering. We are told the flight will be turned around if we don't calm down and we are ushered to our seats. We then put our heads back and woke up with 10 mins until London. The bars worked. After landing in London, wilkins has been told that he was put on the british airways "list", and that they will be watching him closely. What does that mean for us? Oh lets just go to a bar in heathrow international, take another half bar each(17 left) and black out even before the flight. The flight from Heathrow to nice france was only 2 and a half hours and I don't remember getting on the flight, only that i had a full row to my self and that I sprawled and slept for the whole duration. My buddy did the same except when we were in landing mode, he wouldn't wake up(this is just what I was told from other kids on trip). The attendent had to pull him up and in the process, hit him in the face with his own Ipad. This caused quite the stir between wilkins and her and wilkins wanted some type of refund for being hurt on the plane. Instead, he got moved from british airway's "list" to the "blacklist" which we had no idea entailed for him. You might be wandering how the 2 teacher chaperones were reacting to this. The cool one was laughing but still had a worreid face and just told us to calm down in airports. The other one was appalled. She saw us badger flight attendents, almost miss the flight from london to france, and had to deal with wilkins being put on the blacklist. But anyways, thats just day 1 of (i think 3?). We arrive in nice at around 3pm and I will try to explain just how crazy the next 3 days are. We take a bus a couple hours a way to stay in a hotel on the beach. Me and wilkins are both 18 and that allows us to drink whatever we want there. Each night, we had a group meal at the hotel and that entailed no drinking whatsoever. But there was a hotel bar so thats exactly where wilkins and I went before the dinner. I also forgot to mention that we took a bar each before dinner. (15 left). I don't remember much from the rest of the night but apparently I blacked out at the bar after too many tequila shots, Wilkins was stumbling around the hotel and found me and woke me up and we proceeded to drink even more. We took another half stick each(14 left) and found ourselves the next morning waking up in one of the rooms that 2 girls were staying in. We woke up at around 6am with beer all over the bed and bottles on the bed and no memory of the night before. I proceed to my room and get some more sleep and Idk what wilkins does but we eventually reconvene at 9am to get on the bus because we had a musuem seeing tour all day. There was no time for wilkins and I to think about the previous night, only thinking about how we could get through the 2 hour bus ride to the musuem(famous musuem in nice forget what its called). The only way was to take another FULL stick each.(12 left). We wake up to my cousin telling us we need to get off the bus because we have arrived. The whole group(ourselves included), walk up to the musuem which is beautiful and everything but we weren't built for it. We just wanted to drink and so we go to the restaurant in the side of the musuem and plop ourselves down. Wilkins and I just ask for a jack and coke. We are brought out 2 glasses with 2 cans of coke and 2 little things of jack daniels. We drink 2 each as we got another round after quickly drinking just the tiny bottle of jack. Our bill is brought out and reads 80$. I say there is no way as we only got 4 jack and cokes. The french waiter who speaks little english just keeps pointing to the price of the jack and coke. I was barred at this point(basically the whole trip) and just couldn't understand the prices. Wilkins goes to get his wallet out from beneath him and somehow it hits him at this point to realize he doesn't have his wallet. He also doesn't have his phone. And it finally hits him what he did the previous night while I was passed out in that girls bed. He took one of the girls on the trip and fucked her on the beach. Or on the ferris wheel. Or both. I had no idea and he barely remembered but he came to the conclusion that his phone was on the ferris wheel and wouldnt be found and that his wallet was back at the hotel. Well anyways, I pay and the next part of this story is somewhat foggy for some reason. But we paid a guy in a golf cart 30 euros to drive us to a good local bar near the water. He drives 5 minutes down the hill and we end up at what to have been the biggest dark alcoholic bar in the south of france. Wilkins and I didn't care though because the prices looked cheap. We asked the bartender to make us his favorite drink and he proceeds to serve us what I believed to be straight limocello on ice. We must've had 4 maybe 5 even though the drink was just disgusting and took another half stick while we were at it(11 left). These bars were hitting and we just weren't realizing it. After about an hour in the bar we start to walk up the hill to go back to the musuem and we get a call from the strict teacher saying where are you, we are worried sick and that you need to get here asap. Idk what happened next but we get up the bus with everybody waiting and the strict teacher pulls us to the side and tell us we are on strike 2. Neither of us remember what strike 1 was but we pile back into the bus to go to a little town to get lunch. Wilkins and I are told we have to eat lunch with the teachers as our punishment for going away from the group to drink. This lunch is also foggy but I believe we ate pizza while overlooking the ocean. Wish I would've remembered it a little more. The whole lunch, wilkins and I are shaking because we haven't had a drink in an hour. We are asked why we are shaking, and I believe one of us literally said, "Because we haven't had a drink in an hour". God, we actually belonged with the dark alcoholics in that bar. The cool teacher pulls us aside and gives us the run down. We are drinking too much. Being obnoxious. Being late to the bus. Leaving the group. Acting weird. Basically, we are just being described as bartardos. We promise to be better. Our final stop for the day is at antother musuem. I don't remember the mini stops in between but I do have a picture of me and wilkins during the mini stop. If you want to see it, lmk. It's a keeper and apparently at one of the mini stops I bought 3 packs of cigs. Cool. We get to the next musuem and its one of those musuems with statues and sacred this and sacred that. Not a good place for wilkins and I when we just started to become extremely tired. Funny how that works. We both just became zombies at the same time. I took my resting place to the room of the jesus christ statue. I kid you not, I woke up about an hour later at the feet of this jesus christ statue with the strict teacher asking me about the paintings(she apparently loved paintings) in the room. I took her spanish 4, so my barred ass tells her how I loved the miro painting over there. I just pointed to a general direction. I then went to a bench in the lobby of the musuem and passed out again. During this whole time, wilkins was attempting to find a nice little niche to fall asleep. Well out of all the places, wilkins decided that the sacred fountain was the place to go to. Outside. In the middle of everything. He stumbles onto territory that is marked as sacred and falls alseep I believe with his legs in the fountain. I still havent heard what happened or from any witnesses so I'll just let myself believe he wasn't fully in the fountain. He has told me from his very foggy memory that when he woke up, he was surprised that he was still in the same spot and when he stood up, he saw the people all surounding the tape that said, "No entering". The security guards couldn't even get him because the land was sacred. You weren't suppose to walk on it. Wilkins, in his usual manner, just casually walks off and past everybody with the guards too astonished to even get him I guess. He finds me alseep on the bench(which I have a photo of if you want to see it) and we argue over who gets to sleep on the bench. The next memory I have is us back at the hotel prepping for the dinner for that night. There was a solid 2-3 hours in between that I dont remember. Wilkins doesn't either. There is about an hour and a half before the 8pm dinner so wilkins and I decide to chill out and have some drinks while the rest of the group went to secretly buy handles of vodka to keep in their rooms. We go to take another bar and I count them. Only 10 left, so I guess we must have taken a half each during those 2-3 hours. Doesn matter, we decide to take 1 each. (8 left). We have now successfully taken 6 bars each in about 2 days. I guess that does not sound like a lot but when you are spreading them out and drinking on them the whole day, they hit you constantly. We go to the hotel bar, slam some drinks and proceed to walk over to the dinner we were having that day. When we arrive at dinner, we sit down and I begin to murmur to the girl next to me(the same one that wilkins had out at 3am the night before) about how I wanted to give a toast to the strict teacher to try and gain back some credit. What I told this girl must have been good because next thing you know Iḿ standing up giving a toast to this teacher. Do I remember what I said? Nope. Was I slurring my speech? Yes.(from what I was told). Wilkins clapped for me, so did a few others. God I was so barred out that I just don´t realize how I came to the point of giving a fucking toast. Dinner finishes up and wilkins and I scurry to my room to grab another full stick. Each. (6 left). These things were suppose to be for flights only and here we are just gobbling all of them in 2 days. I did not care. I lived for the moment. After this, we go to the bar down the street and drink as much as we can. Keep in mind im paying for wilkins this whole time as he did not find his wallet at the hotel. So no wallet. No phone, which I dont know if I mentioned but he left his phone on the ferris wheel he believes. After getting hammered, its about 10pm and we go to the hotel, go to the bar, have 1 shot and then our downfall begins. Wilkins decides that his wallet was stolen by one of the hotel room cleaners. He goes to the receptionist at the front desk and drags me along with him. We are hammered. We are barred out. We are mad. wilkins takes my wallet and points at it and points at the girl and does this over and over again. She speaks no english and is getting very scared. Turns out, she thought we were trying to offer her money for sex. And it turns out she was the hotel ownerś daughter. And she was 15. Great. After no success, we go upstairs to my room and take a half bar each. (5 left). We fall asleep pretty quickly at around 11pm. I do not know what happened in the next hour and a half but I was woken up at 12:30am by the 2 teachers telling me I was flying home the next morning and with a string of texts from my parents on how they cant believe I was offering underage girls money for sex, abusing any drug I could get my hand on, and begging anybody for any drugs they had. Then the hotel owner busts into our room. Im so caught off guard and so barred out that I just sit there with drool coming out of mouth while I watch wilkins scream at the strict teacher telling her she is a cunt and everything. After about 20 mins, I finally realize I got kicked off the trip, or the idea actually hit my head finally. I then burst into arguments with everybody. Wilkins and I tell the hotel owner to check the security footage as we were not soliciting his daughter, we call the strict teacher many different things and we attempt to argue our case. There was so much confusion that night and I truly do not remember a lot but wilkins and I went to sleep that night thinking we were getting on a bus the next day going to a musuem with the group. When we woke up and got dressed and tried to get on the bus, we were told we couldn go because we were flying back home today. What? What the fuck do you mean? WE had completely forgotten the night before, at least I did. And I couldn even argue with the strict teacher because she took off on the bus. The cool teacher told us there was nothing she could do because it wasnt her trip. She said she wouldnt have kicked us off but strict teacher just wasnt having it. She told us to get ready to leave for the airport in an hour. We got ready in 10 mins, we went to the bar and had some final stellas. I got hammered actually because I remember the whole taxi ride feeling like I was going to throw up. I have pictures of the drinks during the morning. We get to the airport and the teacher tells us sorry and we tell her its okay and that she is the best teacher and she asks if we can make it on the plane ok and if we need her. We tell her no. Brutal mistake. We had 5 bars left. We had around 3 hours until the plane was taking off. There was a bar upstairs. Thats all we needed. We took 2 bars each(1 left) and it didnt really matter because I was still feeling barred out from the previous 2 days. We go and get hammered at the bar and became full retards. We are at Nice International airport just absoutely fucked out of our minds having to board a plane in an hour. That is when the fateful idea hits wilkins. Ḧe decides he is going to fake an acl injury and get wheelchaired into first class. I did not realize his full intentions until he literally dropped down next to where you get scanned for your boarding pass and started screaming. He was screaming torn acl and I was not going to be left behind so I decided that I would drop down and scream broken back. Miracously, we got put in wheelchairs and our barred out asses got wheelchaired onto the plane in first class. Unreal. We fell asleep within minutes of being on the plane and about 30 minutes later, we were woken up with 3 french police officers standing over top of us. Youŕe fucking kidding. We are told that the captain wont fly with us on his plane because he feels we are an endangerment. We completely forget that we are suppose to have serious injuries so when we stand up perfectly, we are bombarded by questions with wilkins response being, ẅho the fuck told you I had a torn acl. Good god. We are constantly asking why we got taken off and how we are going to get refunded. These french cops did not care for us at all and I eventually got so frustrated i started repeatedly asking them how we were going to get home. I started filming because they werent answering and thats when hell broke loose. I was tackled, phone cracked and the home button broke. both of us get taken to the french jail on the other end of the airport and placed in a cell together. They take all my belongings and the only thing wilkins had was his suticase and ipad. After about an hour, they take me out of the cell and tell me to sit on the chair and not talk. They leave wilkins in the cell. It smelled like piss and a hole to shit in. Great stuff. Happy it was wilkins in there and not me. I got slammed by an officer for badgering him to let me use my phone to call my parents and finally after 10 hours of being in french jail, they tell me somebody is here to take me to a place. What the fuck does that even mean? So in comes this random woman and tells me shes taking me to a place. Again, what fucking place and why is wilkins not allowed to come with me. Wilkins is awake at this point and hes banging on the cell and im looking at him like am I ever going to see you again. She takes me away and wilkins is left with just his suticase (his ipad was apparently left at security so it was never seen again.) I get in the car with this woman and she takes me to this compound. The gates are lifted and we drive in. You wouldn believe where I fucking was. A god damn french orphanage. These kids were straight from the streets and maybe 1 in every 100 spoke english. They take me inside and I tell my story to the head people(through a translator). The orphanage owner then comes out and yells ¨First AMERICAN EVER!!!!¨. You just cant make this shit up. I was the first american to ever be inside that french orphanage. I told them how A. I need to find a way to contact my friend. B. Telling them my parents are buying a flight home for me ASAP(you cant leave the orphanage unless you have a boarding pass to another country). and C. where the fuck was I sleeping that night. After dealing with my parents and wilkins parents who were worried sick, I go to the front door of the orphanage and just try to pray to god that wilkins ends up here. What do you know? Out of nowhere, Wilkins walks to the front door. His shirt is ripped. He has his suitcase. He is sweating more than anybody I have ever seen. When he is finally let in after I tell them he is the friend and he is the one who is with me, there is nothing we can. We just stare at each other and I give him a big hug. I was in shock. He tells me how he walked from the aiport and asked the first reasonable looking person he saw where he could stay for free for the night. They told him the name of the place and through trial and error, he walked 2 hours at night in the south of france and somehow found the orphanage. Again, you cant make this shit up. After buying our tickets home, we are taken to our room. This room had one bed and was about 7 feet by 8 feet and had a toilet that you literally had to stand in the room to piss into because you couldnt fit in the bathroom. I then find out I dont have my laptop and that my phone is malfunctioning. My parents and his paernts are both texting me telling us how we need to wake up for our flights tomorow.(we had different flights) If we miss it, we would be fucked. Wilkins and I fall asleep at 2am with my feet in his face and his feet in mine and we sleep through my alarm but manage to wake up about an hour before wilkins. We rush downstairs and try to call an uber, no luck. We pay some random taxi the rest of the euros I had to drive us to the airport. We get there 30 mins before take off and 5 hours before my flight. Wilkins asks for the last bar. I tell him he is out of his mind, its mine. He panics and frantically runs to security and thats the last I see of him until 3 days later back at his house. I manage to get on my flight and take the bar with a few drinks in me. I gotta say, Scandavian airlines is the nicest airline i have ever been on. I woke up with 20 minutes to my destination. Nice. Thatś basically it. The only legal consequences to come out of this were being banned from british airways and being temporarily banned from France. It took me a while to write this but I seriously had fun doing it. Itś funny to think of the situations we got ourseleves in but we are lucky to say we made it through. https://reddit.com/link/f7urio/video/ld6prrdg74j41/player https://preview.redd.it/mishouav54j41.jpg?width=1242&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ab5055e237070f93d8d775eb59dca876100a4a83 https://preview.redd.it/6kni9mlr54j41.png?width=739&format=png&auto=webp&s=d56c9f56764c9473d332dae3177259a0835e69f9 https://preview.redd.it/tsdap6il54j41.jpg?width=1242&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5c4a52a3d17bbd25305086223bf9ba483e321e2d https://preview.redd.it/ci5lum9y04j41.png?width=828&format=png&auto=webp&s=2e84bdf725b5b0511e85eb8aae564fd4f17869dc
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…9
Continuing... “I say that you’re way the fuck out of line, Chuckles. Are you an educated, experienced, fully licensed and internationally renowned master blaster?” I asked. “No, but…” he tried to continue. “But nothing, Scooter.” I said, “What, other than your insane xenophobia and nationalism, causes you to come to such unfounded, not to say stupid, conclusions?” He looked down at the deck. Evidently, he was not used to being challenged in such a manner. He realized he walked face-first into a metaphorical wood chipper. “I’m waiting for your answer, pally.” I continued. Still nothing. He was either deep in thought or ill at ease from newly soggy undergarments. “Want to know why I chose what I did? Fine, meet back here in 15 damn minutes.” He looks at me with a most perplexed, and ignorant, look on his face. “Dax, Cliff? I need you.” I say. We go back to the weapons locker and I explain my idea. “Let’s load a case of typical, TYPICAL Chinese-made dynamite. Then let’s load a case of American C-4. Be very careful with that leaky Chinese shit. Wait one. I’ll do it if you want and you can handle the C-4.” I say. “Ah, Rock; yeah. We’d appreciate it. You being the Pro from Dover, after all.” Cliff agrees. “No worries”, I say, “I got this. You make me up a nice, tightly packed case of C-4. For demonstration purposes.” I find a near-empty case of dynamite and begin to judiciously fill the thing with random samples of shitty and leaky Chinese manufactured and Korean not-too-well-cared-for dynamite. This stuff was so incredibly shitty and poorly manufactured that even when leaking and nasty, it was nowhere near as dangerous as its Western counterpart. It was loaded with so much and many interstitials, like sawdust, diatomaceous earth, literal horseshit, and shredded newspaper, the nitro denatured itself to some degree as it oozed out. Plus, in the non-climate controlled weapons locker; the high humidity, salt air, and poor circulation from the small open grate facing the sea, the nitro had desensitized somewhat and evaporated. It left only sticky, thin, fly-ridden films rather than the usual ‘waiting for a good reason to explode’ puddles. It was in no way as twitchy as that locker back in Nevada. Oh, but be assured, it was still a shit show. If I really wanted to, I could blow myself, this boat and all occupants into the next dimension rather easily, but it was nothing like that old locker back in that disused Nevada mine. I still needed to be scrupulously careful as there could potentially be puddles of the pale yellow, viscous liquid explody stuff, instead of the thin films I was mostly finding. Either way, it required caution and judiciousness. Nitro’s twitchy as fuck and the last thing I need is a dropped nail, blasting cap, or hunk of the rotten box falling into an errant nitro wet patch… Extra attention was exercised. Dax and Cliff are halfway through, and I’m still picking through the leaky, smelly bundles. “Next time”, I mused to myself, “I‘m writing in a ‘Handling fucked-up explosives”-clause in my contract. No matter how much I’m being paid for this, it ain’t enough…” We find a couple of expendable, dry-rotted ‘life preserver’ floaty-rings, upon which we secure both cases of explosives. They’re tethered with a rope and primed with a number of blasting caps. I let the head local Korean crank examine both to ensure that I’m not trying to pull a fast one. He did not notice the 3-pound bag of Tannerite (an impact-actuated explosive) I snuck in the middle of the box of Chinese TNT. “Now. Satisfied that they’re equal?” I asked. “Nothing fishy here. Just dynamite in bundles, with caps. Then, over here, C-4 blocks with cap. OK?” He was satisfied; but only after letting a couple of the shiny suit squad check as well. “Well”, I smirked,” So much for your ‘covert observation’, asshole.” This guy was DPRK secret service or equivalent. “Holy cold-pack cheese-food product fuck”, I cogitate, “They are so goddamned suspicious”. I ask Dax to go over to the pilothouse and borrow the mauled AK-47 I saw hanging on the bulkhead there. They keep it for run-ins with cranky sharks, walruses, and lovesick blue-footed boobies evidently. “OK, here’s what we’ll do. We’ll float each out, and I‘ll trail with demolition wire. Once we’re a few hundred meters out, you can press the big, shiny, green button and detonate your dynamite. I even used 6 blasting caps, to give each bundle its own. You saw that. We green?” I ask. He was, although suspicious of what I had in mind. He agreed although he refused to use my terminology, the stodgy prick. So float away the dynamite case we did. The case of Chinese dynamite floated out and away from the boat, leaving an oily slick in its wake. As it got to around 200-225 meters or so, I requested a rendition of the Korean version of the Safety Dance, as it was just too fucking hilarious to watch. Once completed, I handed Doubting Korean Thomas the detonator. “Your turn, Tweedles”, I said, “Hit the button to spark off your “much-better-than-the-West’s” Oriental dynamite.” He grabbed the detonator, gnashed a tooth in my direction, and mashed down on the big, shiny, green button with a vengeance. PFftt!PAH-foof!fuff There was a cheery little pop, a puff of acrid smoke, and not much else. Let it be said from the onset that I just selected examples of the Oriental manufactured dynamite at random. I didn’t look for the worst or leakiest. Though truthfully I really didn’t have much too choice in the matter. “You! You swindled me! You knew the dynamite wouldn’t explode! Somehow you knew it!!” he swore in my general direction. “Try it again”, I said after retrieving the detonator and doing a quick re-wire to another bank of blasting caps. “Gumeong-e bul!” [“Fire in the hole!”]. MASH goes the big, shiny, green button anew. Pfffft!” *Pop. Poooof! Piffle. Blerp. Nothing but a cute little pop, a poof, and a few acrid puffs of smoke. He was crestfallen. He had taken on the Motherfucking Pro from Dover in a necessarily explosive subject, with inevitably disastrous results. I asked if anyone here was weapons trained. A couple of Coasties raised their hands. “And you are? “ I asked the closest one. “Lt. P'an Tae-Hyun, Sir”, as he snaps a snappy salute. “Groovy.”, I reply and retrieve the AK from Dax. “Can you squeeze off a couple of shots and hit that floating box of dynamite?” I asked. “Yes, sir!” he replied, smiling. “OK then”, I replied and turned to the crowd. “Dynamite is usually pretty stable stuff and won’t detonate without a blasting cap or impulse source. A bullet will most certainly not detonate it. However, I’ve stuck in 3 pounds, imperial, of Tannerite, which is a type of binary explosive used for targeting. Tannerite will most definitely and energetically explode when impacted by a high-velocity bullet. I think we can agree that an AK-47 round is high-velocity?” I asked. There were nods and a buzz of general agreement. “Now, there’s the better part of a case of unexploded dynamite out there. That’s what we in the business call very, very fucking dangerous. Now those three pounds of Tannerite should vaporize everything within a 10-meter radius if it detonates as designed. Agreed?” I asked. Again, there were nods and a buzz of general agreement. “Lieutenant P'an?” I asked, “At your discretion. Fire at will. Or the dynamite case, as it were.” He nodded. He walked over to the furthest point on the stern, checked to see everyone was back and out of harm’s way, as he was a consummate professional. He futzed around with the old AK for a bit and took a shot. It was low and outside. “Ball one”, I snickered. “Sights are off. Not any problems.” He remarked. The next round found its mark. The Tannerite exploded adeptly. It threw sticks of unexploded Chinese dynamite over a 20-meter radius. They each sank into the briny deep leaving only an oily spot to mark their entry and eventual watery grave. The top of the case of dynamite was blown off, but the floaty ring remained. We reeled it back in to find a few more scorched, but unexploded, sticks of fine Oriental manufacture explosive on the bottom of the case. These were motherfuckingly dangerous. Cantankerous dynamite has no place on a ship. I remarked, however, that this would be no problem. Dax and Cliff brought up the case of C-4, which I had wired with one single blasting cap and booster. We had Korean Doubting Thomas and his shiny suit buddies give it the once over to ensure I wasn’t trying to pull a fast one. He agreed, it was nothing but C-4 as advertised. One of the more expendable Coasties jumped down on the stern transom-rack which is just above the waterline on the back of the boat. He wired the two rings together and set them adrift, tethered by a good nylon rope with my nasty, silky demolition wires trailing. Dax was working the rope and I was handling the spool of demolition wire. I had a good 350 meters of the stuff on the spool and wasn’t about to return a single centimeter. Old habits and all. As they floated away, Mr. Kwan asked if we’d like a bit of refreshment, as, gosh, it sure was dusty out here today. Of course, we agreed in unison. Good old Mr. Kwan. So, we’re unspooling our lines slowly, drinking our end of the day refreshers, smoking cigars, and watching our Oriental colleagues getting antsier every minute. I knew what a case of C-4 was going to do when detonated. It would be one hell of a show. I was so confident with my design I had Lt. P’ay return the AK to the pilothouse. Wouldn’t work here anyways if the C-4 failed to detonate. But that’s not going to happen. Dr. Pro from Dover Rocknocker has spoken. Finally, I’m almost out of demolition wire, and Dax has tied off the tether. I motion over to Herr Doubting Thomas and hand him the detonator. “For ye of little faith”, I smiled, recalling the entreaty that even Satan quotes the Bible for his own nefarious uses. But first, an encore of the Korean Safety Dance. They're guaranteed to raise a smile. I look to the character fumbling with the detonator. “At your convenience, good sir”, I say, dripping insincerity. “Gumeong-e bul!” [“Fire in the hole!”]. Mash goes the big, shiny, green button. KA-MOTHERING-FUCKINGLY-HUGE-BOOM! Even over 300 meters away, every one of us not only saw but felt that shock wave. It was like a solid Savate kick to the chest. The boat even rocked a bit in appreciation. I smile, retrieved the detonator, safe it, and reply: “And that is the singular reason why I used good old American manufacture C-4 as a sonic seismic source rather than shitty, leaky Oriental dynamite. Any further questions?” He shook his head in agreement, bowed slightly in my direction, slunk away, and that was the very last we ever saw of Mr. Korean Doubting Thomas. The Captain saw and felt the detonation. He put the boat in park, actually, he handed it over to the sub-pilot for station keeping and came back to the fantail. He wanted to know if we were now officially finished with our project. We maintained that we were and it had come off very, very successfully; in no small degree because of his boat handling abilities. He came over to me and shanghaied one of the translators. “Doctor Stone?” he asked. “Hrmph. Close enough.” I smiled. “May I be first to congratulate your team. In eight sorties, you and your teams are the first to fulfill mission parameters. I am pleased to say that this will go on all our permanent records. It will mean bonuses for all present. I salute you.” And does with a naval flourish. “No shit? Well, thanks, Cap”, I reply, “But I’m just the den mother for this special education class. Without them, and all their hard work, it’d never have happened.” “I knew you would say this”, he smiled, “You are leader of men. We see that. You are teacher, but also not afraid to work. You should do this more often. Use your education and experience to train and teach others.” He says, shaking my hand. Now it’s time for me to wonder. Did he hear of my offer back home? I don’t think he did, I’ve been playing those cards very close to the vest, as it were. I am now officially confused and bebothered. But, since I don’t believe in anything, much less coincidence, I’m going to chalk it up to happenstance and just gratefully consider the source. He asks that we wait here and he’ll return forthwith. “On a boat this size, there are not too many places we can sneak off to…” I chuckle. He returns with a very, very old bottle of something quite unidentifiable since it appears to be lacking a label. He yells something in official Korean and suddenly, a tray with little, itty-bitty demitasse-style glasses appear along with some smoked fish, I think, nibbles of some kind. He pours a dram for all present. No one dares take as much as a preemptory sniff until he’s finished with the ceremony. Everyone thusly charged, he begins a toast. “Shoo-buddy”, I think, “I’ve been down this road before.” It was quick, succinct, brief, and laudatory. According to him, we had ‘hung the moon’. I liked this style of toasting. Left more time to drink and for camaraderie. The project thus finished, as we were running out of potables, especially freshwater, victuals, and toilet paper; we were headed back to base. That is, back to the hotel to see what our comrades who chose to stay onshore had developed. But, that was going to be for another day. First, we needed to chug our way back to port, both literally and figuratively. Ahem. Before which, though, there were some housekeeping and paperwork chores. Dax, Cliff, and I did a quick reconnaissance of the explosives locker and created a ‘used’ manifest; which all three of us signed. They may be officious, they may be obtrusive, but damn, they certainly love their goddamned paperwork over here. We gave copies to the head shiny suit, one for the Captain, and we retained copies for our records. Along with notes that we expended two rounds from the pilothouse AK, as we were trying to out-officious these officious paper-pushers. We made certain the keys were returned and logged in the proper logbooks and the explosives locker was locked securely, solidly, and soundly. Before which, we policed up the weapons locker and actually offered to the gods of the briny deep, quite the quantity of unsafe, leaky dynamite, and other ordinance that was more a disaster waiting to happen rather than inventory. Seawater would neutralize the nasties and in the case of anything metallic, it’d be gone within a fortnight. and the phosphates might provide some nice fertilizer for some lucky passing Cnidarians. We were in water of near 45 fathoms. This stuff would never hurt another living thing. The Captain was very pleased that we had taken that task upon ourselves. He wasn’t allowed to do anything about what was in the locker, but he was responsible for it and keeping the wrong people out of it. I commented that was a fairly stupid way of handling things, and he mentioned that he’d appreciate it if I made an official note of it to the powers that be once we go feet-dry, i.e., get back to shore. I assured him we most certainly would. From then on, all we had to do was putt-putt our way back to port. It was going to take some hours and we’d end up berthing during the wee hours. This would not be a problem as our bus and driver would be waiting for us no matter what the time. He would briskly and without fanfare, return us to our hotel. That we were actually looking forward to bunking back in the old hotel sort of gave one an idea of the Spartan arrangements we had endured for the last three days. Most of the Westerners groused and complained in a humorous manner. Hell, it was only three bloody days. Some of our Oriental friends were so totally aghast they vowed to lodge formal complaints once they returned to dry land. Landlubbers. Odd that once we hit the beach, they all scattered to the four winds and not a single letter nor either a peep of protest was ever forthcoming. Yes, this is an intensely weird place. We wandered down the gangplank, cigars a-fume, and drinks recently and for one last time, refreshed by Mr. Kwan. The shiny suit squad was supervising the offloaded of the seismic data we had collected and had seen it soundly sealed and concealed in the very living bowels of the bus. It was to return with us to the hotel, where we’d demand a receipt. Then it would be off to the ‘Technological Center” on Scientific Street for processing. They assured us that they’d handle that themselves. Evidently we were good enough to acquire the data, but not good enough to see the finished product. Ack, Volna, and Ivan chuckled. “OK, you pirates. What did you do?” I asked “They can try with all their might. But without the decryption key, they’ll spend years processing encoded compressed nonsense.” They snickered. “We did offer to come and help set up the decryption for the decompression of the raw data, but they said they could handle it themselves. Oh, well. We tried. Seriously, we did.” Ack and Volna snickered. “Well, keep it handy in case they come to their senses before we get out of here,” I said. “Always our intention, Herr Denmother”, Volna chuckles. “Oh, you heard that?” I snickered quietly. Back at the hotel, the majority of us sent our sea-gear to our rooms via the on-site laundry. That being settled, the majority of us retired to the catacombs of the basement. We needed strong drink, decent, non-tinned food, and seats that didn’t slop around every time you sat down. Well, with the acquisition of our sea legs, two out of three wasn’t bad. Since the hour was much too late, I decide that tomorrow, well, later today, would be a day of R&R for everyone. Moreover, I was informed that tomorrow would be the “Day of the Sun” celebration, the insanely earnest celebration birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, founder and Eternal President of North Korea. It’s supposed to be some sort of big, hairy nationwide deal. But aside from a couple of small posters, we heard little and knew less about the holiday and its celebration. Everyone’s being even more uncharacteristically low key. It’s odd like there’s something weird going on here. “What? Something weird and covert and sneaky going on in Best Korea? Pshaw, you old fart. You’re letting the paranoids get to you!”, I mused to myself. This place will do that to you after a while. I asked the front desk to place a note that made the rest of today a day of R&R in everyone’s mailbox. After another cigar, some decent prawn stir-fry, and a couple-twelve really stiff drinks, we were all ready to invade the land of Nod for a few hours. I went downstairs for a drink, a nosh, and a smoke. I ran out of NK won as we tend to use them in Western Expat high-stakes poker games, so I needed to trade some of my weird Middle Eastern currency for weird Best Korea currency. I was used to the 900:1 won:US dollar (equivalent) trade-off, but after cashing in the equivalent of US$500 in Middle Eastern dinero, I walked off with 650,000 won, not 450,000. “Pardon me, Ms. Cashier”, I said to the nice little local woman behind the bird-cage security wires, “I do think you gave me too much.” She took my stack, re-counted it, and proclaimed it correct. “I thought the exchange rate was 900 to the dollar?” I asked. “No”, she remarked, “Now 1,336.” “Any idea what’s causing the fluctuations?” I asked. She just smiled and shook her head ‘no’. I smiled back and tipped her 50 UAE dirhams for the information. “Weird. Now what?” I mused. Little did I know… The next morning dawned dim and early as there some sort of something going on outside. Oh, yes, it was ‘The Day of the Sun’ celebration. I discovered it was is an annual public holiday in North Korea celebrating the birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, founder, and Eternal President and local Poobah-in-Charge of North Korea. It is the most important national holiday in the country, and is considered to be the North Korean pseudo-secular equivalent of Christmas. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I picked a damn good day to call for an R&R break.” Then I found out, why no one told us about any of this is still unknown, that the next two days after the holiday would also be considered a holiday. Come to find out, there are all sorts of intrusive, inconvenient, and wholly unnecessary nonsense that accompany these high holy days here in Best Korea. There are exhibitions, fireworks, song and dance events, athletics competitions, idea seminars: “Think about it!”, and visits to places connected with Kim Il-sung's life, including his birthplace in Mangyongdae. Shops close, the hotel televisions block any other ‘programming’ and show only ‘special’ movies. Either ridiculously fake documentaries on the life of the also ever so ronrey Kim Il-sung or movies he especially enjoyed. People parade to his statue on Mansu Hill to deposit flowers; later in the day, it resembled a pollinated glacier. There’s general obviously forced elation, all of which is extraordinarily strained and appears fake. People are trucked by the groaning busload to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the dead maniac lies in state. “Fuck this”, I said in the exact spirit of international amity, “I’m going to the bar.” I go downstairs to the basement bar, and even though it’s a high holy day, it’s open early. It didn’t used to be open until the afternoon, but since we’ve arrived, they have adjusted their hours for us. They have also doubled their daily receipts. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice. One of my favorite barkeeps was station keeping that morning. I greeted him in the usual style and expressed to Mr. Ho Gun the best holiday wishes. “Hi! Ho!”, I said, “Annyeonghaseyo”, which comes out ‘Annie young eez-yo!’ in my Baja Canuckian dialect. Mr. Ho laughs at my attempt at Korean, but he does appreciate the effort. “Doctor Rock”, he says, “Dawn greetings. You will drink what?” Nice and direct, I like that. “Ye’ ken Greenland Coffee, me ol’ mucker?” I asked in a swirl of different dizzying dialects. Koran confounds me, so I thought I’d return the favor. “No, but I’m sure it’s coffee with some of your usual high-proof liquors, correct?” he smiles as I hand him a nice, oily Oscuro cigar. “For Best Most Happy Returns: Day of the Sun”, I said, waggling the stogie, as I hand it over. “However, you are correct. Normally, ‘authentic’ Greenland Coffee is a paltry 1/3rd ounce each of Whiskey, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier with excess coffee. Well, I don’t cotton to those liquors or measures. So my Greenland Coffee recipe, really from Greenland, by the way, is Siku Vodka, or any other high-octane vodka, as long as it’s premium. Then Immiak, which is Greenland’s version of Jagermeister, so let’s just go with Jager. Then finish it off with a shot of Tia Maria or Kahlua, if available. Oh, yes, then hot coffee. Silly me, almost forgot…” I conclude. “And measures?” Mr. Ho asked. “Whatever fills the cup”, I replied, in a bastardization of an old Russian toast. “OK, how about a 35 mils (~1 ounce) stiff shot each booze, then hot coffee to fill your mug? With a chilled vodka chaser, as per usual?” He asks. “Make it so, Mr. Ho,” I say. “No whipped cream or crème liqueurs, please. I’m lactose intolerant, and, well, no one wants to hear that…” He laughs and whips together a very nice morning sunriser. It’s a real day off. In a very, very weird land. It’s Festival outside and I stayed up most of the night calling people back in the world, creating and updating dossiers, doing explosives-tracking paperwork, worrying over logistics, and how and when the fuck we’re going to eventually get out of here. Fuck it, double front. I’m doing my ‘people watch’, perched high on Mahogany Ridge. I’m taking, for the first time since, hell, I left the Middle East, some real downtime. I figured I deserved it. I was the only one at the bar, but after a short time, there were festival-goers who infiltrated down into the hotel's subterranean catacombs. They didn’t know of the bar’s recently expanded hours and when they saw me sitting high up on Mahogany Ridge, smoking my ubiquitous cigar, they rejoiced. Obligatory Festival and alcohol! Better than beer and power tools. In the Baja Canada time-honored tradition, I have a pile of the local currency sitting on the bar. At the new exchange rate of 1,386 won to the dollar, I’m making out like a bandit. Drinks here are cheap, really cheap, to begin with. With this fluctuation in exchange rates, which I figured reflected the holiday, I was flush. In the chips. Well-heeled. I've got a lot of what it takes to get along. So, I was feeling magnanimous. I was tipping people very well. “Paper?” one local asked. “Sure. How much for a week-old English version of the Daily Worker’s Manifest and Pork Belly Futures Digest? 100 won? Here’s 1,000. Keep the change.” Not wanting to become over-caffeinated, I switched from Greenland Coffees after a couple to my usual potato juice and citrus concoction. Each one came in a tall, frosted gimlet glass, a very nice touch, and was expertly made my Mr. Ho after I showed him once when we first arrived. Each one, with the current exchange rate, was about 500 won; an exorbitant sum for any local. It was about US$0.40 for me. I bought several for people who bellied up to the bar and tried to engage me in conversation. I was used to handing out business cards, hell, one never knew where contacts could lead; and not receiving one in return. Today, I collected four new business cards; two from various European ex-pats, and two from locals. I guess Festival! time brings out the best and least paranoid in people. It’s only 1000 hours in the AM and people here are already seriously lubricated. This will be a fun few days. I decided to get a rather tall drink in one of my 100-ounce Kum-n-Go travel cups. With all the hoo-ha going on around here, I haven’t seen a handler, translator, or guide since we got off the boat. I decide with all the shenanigans and goings-on around the place on this festival day, no one would give me nor my wardrobe a second look if I were to venture outdoors for a walkabout. Besides, we’re on a bloody island. It’s not like I can go too damned far. So, quicker than a bunny fucks, I get my drink, fire up a cigar, and walk around the lobby of the hotel. There are the usual comings and goings of tourists, local workers, the security forces, and all that allied tat. I wait until a tour bus pulls up and all eyes are somewhere besides me. Pfft! And I’m standing outside the hotel, looking at all the sights. Which, truth be told, weren’t much. Yanggak Island is a slovenly-manicured island with shrubberies, tracks, trails, and assorted support buildings. The river is basically hidden behind stunted shrubs and nevergreens, and the remains of the defunct golf course. There’s a stadium on the island, which was thronging with festival-goers today. I don’t know what sport, if any, they play there, and didn’t care enough to ask anyone. There was a cinema hall, which was currently empty and looking in need of some dire repair. There’s some sort of Chinese health complex in the process of being built or torn down, it was hard to tell which. Needless to say, the scenery paled almost immediately. I did, after a concerted effort, find a small platform that overlooked the Taedong River. It was a very nice little observation platform with a couple of new-Tudor-esque electrical replica gas lights and two concrete benches where a weary traveler could sit and just watch the river. So I did. I was interested in the fish of the river, and wondered if any of the locals did any fishing; or if it was forbidden, as are so many ‘proletariat’ activities are in town. I did see a few locals, huddled out of plain sight, down by the shores of the river fishing with long, 10 meter, reel-less poles. In Britain, they would call this type of fishing ‘noodling’. I didn’t see them catch anything, but in the bar later, I spoke with a local who told me that they catch various species of fish here. These include Asian Aroana, Blue Guppy, Catfish, Crab, Eel, Halibut, Hucho Perryi, Octopus, Orange Guppy, Pacific Flying Squid, Rainbow Trout, Salmon, and Tuna. I’m not saying my informant was lying or embroidering the tale, but from the nasty condition of the river, I think Coney Island Whitefish, Cotton River Horse, Dumpster Trout, and Bugle-Mouthed Salmon would be the more common species. I had enough perambulation and even though I wasn’t given the least look, I felt a bit uncomfortable out here. That unfiltered sun and equally unfiltered air. After that, I wandered back to the hotel and went to enter to go to my room. “HALT! Who goes there?” some door guard yelled at me. “An American tourista who was out on a walk”, I replied. “Impossible!”, he replied, “Tourists are not allowed out without their guides.” “Look, Herr Mac”, I said, “I’m Dr. Rocknocker, and I am an invited Western Petroleum Scientist with the UN special-invited group here to evaluate the country’s oil and gas potential.” “You are not allowed.” He replied loudly. “My good man”, I replied, equally loudly, "Not allowed? Not allowed? I’m a geologist, I’m allowed everywhere.” With that, I grab the handle of the ornate door, take a slurp out of my drink, and sally forth into the hotel. Of course, he goes non-linear. He follows me and is making all sorts of bad noise. He is almost literally dancing around me, pointing, and exclaiming that I’m not allowed. Then, he made a bit of a mistake. He grabbed my arm. Really, really poor career move. I switched my drink to my left hand and executed a pretty spiffy opposite-side wrist grab on the noisy little nerf herder. He was so shocked by this turn of events, he went slightly white and was rendered mute for a short time. I frog marched the little irritant up to the front desk and asked the head clerk there to explain to my captive audience who I was and why I was here. The clerk smiled and gave the character whom I was dragging around a quick background on the guy who was currently holding him captive. When I heard “닥터 락 노커” [dagteo lag nokeo, “Dr. Rocknocker”], I dropped this guy’s hand and just took a few steps back. After a minute or two, he comes over, very, very abashed. He apologizes as he wasn’t told that any Americans were allowed outside the hotel. I told him ‘No problem’, as I really didn’t have any special permission and didn’t want to get the guy into any trouble. I offered him a cigar, which he refused, but he readily accepted the half-pack of Sobranie pastel cigarettes I had in the pocket of my Hawaiian shirt. I decided from that point to just stay inside the hotel to smoke, drink, and avoid any further Imperial entanglements. I wandered on down to the casino because I was bored and it was unusually quiet. Too hepped-up to sleep, too tired to work, it was that odd interarea between “should I be giving a fuck” and “who the fuck cares?” Leaving the basement, I wandered around the ground floor, just taking in the sights, and looking at the “Festival Specials” at the hotel shops. I found an empty, unlocked conference room that looked inviting. About two dozen chairs, a large wooden table, TV monitors, and a southern view of the city from slightly above ground level. I walked in like I owned the place, as it is always monumentally easier to get forgiveness than permission, sat down at the head of the table, propped my feet up, found an ashtray, and began playing with the remote to see what was available. Evidently, these rooms were available for rent by various factions, cadres, and other sorts of like-minded individuals. However, whoever was here last forgot to re-set the filters on the satellite television. There was real the BBC, real-time. There was German TV, Russian TV, Japanese TV, and even some American TV; all the best of the absolutely prohibited hit parade. I shut it down and left immediately. I went to find my comrades. They simply had to see this. I located Dax first, as he was losing won at a rapid rate down at the basement casino. He said he’d spread the word to any of the team members down in the tunnels and we’d meet at Conference Room #1. I had taken the precaution before leaving to move the “Occupied/Unoccupied” placard to indicate it was in use and that if you hadn’t reserved the room, you’d do best to stay the fuck out. I waited the obligatory 20 minutes for the elevator and went up to ‘our’ floor. I knocked on all the doors where I knew they were occupied by our occupants. I found a few of our team and informed them that if they were so inclined, there would be an unannounced, impromptu, and wholly illicit meeting down in Conference room number 1; complete with refreshments and real, uncensored television. They all agreed and said they’d rouse the rest of our team on the floor. I was feeling so brazen, that when I went down to the ground floor, I stopped at the front desk and ordered lunch and drinks for my team in Conference Room #1. “Oh, sir”, the desk clerk responded, “We don’t have any reservations today for Conference Room #1.” “Well”, I replied, “We are in there and if it wasn’t reserved, how would that have happened? The room would have been marked as unavailable, which it clearly was not; as it was open and available and we are now occupying it. Therefore, it wasn’t marked unavailable so it must have been available; not unavailable as you postulate. It’s almost a simple example of the single equation theory of universal containment. So we are meeting there now and requiring refreshments. It’s simply a logical progression of the facts of the matter.” “You are, of course, correct”, she immediately responded, distracted by all the Festival goings-on in the hotel, “Now, you said you’d like to order 4 dozen assorted meat and cheese sandwiches, two cases of beer, and a mixed case of bottled liquor?” “Yes”, I replied, “You see, it’s only going to be a brief meeting. I’ll also need ice, carbonated and non-carbonated mixers, sliced citrus fruit, and an on-call bartender if you have one available.” “Oh, yes sir,”, she replied, “That will be immediately arranged. Anything else?” “Yes”, I replied, “I’ll need about a dozen ashtrays, of the larger variety. Also, I am going to leave explicit instructions with you to disseminate to hotel staff that we are not to be disturbed. This is a very high-level meeting of the scientists of the IUPG. We will be discussing, umm, ‘sensitive information’”. I used the international ‘don’t-even-think-of-bothering-us’ buzzword to let her know were being very serious indeed. “Oh, yes sir”, she stiffened. “Marvelous”, I said and slipped her 1000 won for her troubles. All sighs of nervousness instantly disappeared. “Excellent. Excellent service.”, I said, rubbing both hands together most Mr. Burnsly. I go over to the conference room and see that our order has begun to already arrive. Have to hand it to them, you call for room service and you get room service. Especially if you’re well known around the hotel to be free with imported cigars, pastel cigarettes, and lavish tips. One by one, my teammates filtered in. There was everyone from out earlier pleasure cruise, and most of the force that remained back in the hotel to prepare the paperwork for our ground assault. Cigars, cigarettes, and pipes were lit. Sandwiches consumed and drinks were downed. After everyone had a chance to see their home-town, or at least home-county, version of the news, I decided that it would indeed be a good time to have a bit of a meeting. It was going nuts outside with the Festival, and as long as we were in here, we were being left alone. After the obligatory facilities break, I returned from a 40-minute round trip to my room to get a couple of my field notebooks. I wanted a record of the proceedings, no matter how spur-of-the-moment. When I returned, I thought the room looked a bit spare. I did a quick headcount and I noted we were missing someone. I glanced through my notes and saw that our Bulgarian geomechanic, Dr. Iskren Dragomirov Dinev, or ‘Iskren’ was not present. “Hey, guys”, I asked aloud, “Anyone seen Iskren lately?” There was a brief conclave and the answer was a solid negative. I called the front desk and got his room number. I asked them to ring his room for me. His room phone rang and rang and rang, but no answer. “Who last saw Iskren?” I asked the assembled crew. The Finnish PT, Joon, recalls drinking with him at the casino the night before last. He seemed normally jovial as was normal for him. “Anyone else? Or since?” I asked. Again, the answer was negative. “Something’s not right”, I thought, my rock sense was tingling. “Dax, Cliff, you’re with me.” We all left, stopped by the front desk, and asked for medical assistance. We explained where we were going and the sudden absence of our Bulgarian friend. We expressed deep concern. 25 minutes later, Dax, Cliff, me, the hotel security chief, and hotel doctor were standing outside Iskren’s room. We had pounded on the door for a good 3 minutes. He certainly wasn’t in the shower. No answer. “Fuck this. Open it”, I said. “Under whose authority?” the chief of hotel security asked. “Mine. Dr. Rocknocker. I’m the team leader of the IUPG crew. Do it.” I said. The door was laboriously opened, as both door bolt locks had to be breached. The room was dark, silent, and entirely unnerving. In the gloom, it appeared that there was a human form, unmoving, on the bed. “I’m a rock Doctor. I think we need a medical doctor here.” I said to the hotel sawbones. The hotel doctor went in without switching on the lights nor touching anything. He examined the mound on the bed. Apparently, it wasn’t a pile of dirty laundry. “Was the occupant of this room a large Caucasian male, approximately 60-65 years of age?” He asked. “Yes”, we all answered together. “I’m afraid he’s dead.” The doctor replied. Dax looked at Cliff who looked at me. In unison, all that was heard was a tripartite: “Oh…fuck.” To be continued...
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How I was kicked out of bars!!! - Babbling #6 - YouTube
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