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lost story for /u/neolordie
thank you! this helps... seriously! it gives me some hope and feedback that i'm not completely nuts (if i'm asking the question, i'm probably safe... probably :), plus there's the off and odd chances that run wild sometimes. i'm enjoying writing today, so please forgive me my liberties as i start to tell a story. some of it you inspired! i'm not done with it, but i enjoy it, and the act of writing is the ends and the means; this story is coming into existence because i am enjoying my play... ├◉─◇───◇──◇─◯◦─
you end up at this year's oddlyreal conference/festival thingy, which just announced its 10,000th physically present (at least cranially) biological entity, ”a new record” the announcement continues in a somehow perceptibly excited low and relaxed androgynous voice. despite yourself, you are grudgingly impressed with the oddly tasteful decor and some subdued, relaxing minor key japanese string thing... the word kuto or koto flashes in your head as remembrance. usually these conference/shindig things are visually loud enough for chinese new year and audibly worse than the morning after the taco and chili competition endemic at a government-in-exile rally in a certain ex-president's last remaining casino.
in a word, elegant. in another two: oddly (you sense a theme here) relaxed. like you imagine miami in the '80s, during sunset over the ocean... minus the grime and old people driving on the median. you hear some obvious digitally created lo-fi sounds. 8-bit? looking in the distance, you see a sign with an arrow pointing down and to the left: ”arcade”. mystery solved! your stomach involuntarily receives a flutter of excitement and anticipation; underneath the larger letters reads ”5 tokens $1, 11 tokens $2, 42 tokens $5”. a long, straight haired androgynous couple, one dyed black and the other bleached white lets out a simultaneous laugh in the distance; you hear ”ski-ball!” as the pair run underneath the sign and disappear. this might actually be fun!
you checked in with only one minor incident: your reserved room wasn't ready yet. before you could say that you didn't mind waiting (an excuse for the arcade... not that you needed one) the concierge asks if you will accept a complimentarily room upgrade to one with a deluxe balcony, japanese bath, and view of the night sky over the ocean (really the gulf) facing west. you thank your lucky stars that that light pollution law passed a few years ago. everyone thought it was too odd and unimportant to pass at the time, and nobody thought it would pass, but it did... without riders, without debate, unanimous. first the house, then the senate an hour later, and the president shocked everyone by signing it at the stroke of midnight on the winter solstice. now you can see your lucky stars... from within a city, of all things. energy use went down because of it, and so did pollution. unexpectedly, cities became quieter at night, and there were less therapy visits for generalized anxiety disorder. book and app sales about astronomy and astrology were trending, and in general, people seem more chill, more relaxed, more focused. it was not uncommon to see your neighbor on a lawn chair on their roof watching the sun set after work.
this night sky was gorgeous! how did so many generations give it up? and for what? crappy 7/11 and motel-6 neon lowglow? lame. the evening sky over the gulf is even more spectacular than you remember, and you pause in your unpacking and settling into your room to watch for a few minutes more.
the keynote speach is listed as a costume formal: tux, gown, dress uniform, and/or come-as-you-are, shoes optional event: another oddly satisfying and kind of exciting contradiction. so the choice is yours: do you pick the expertly tailored black and white tux you had taken in a bit last week? or a below-the-knee black and white gown your partner insisted you pack... just in case. it would be an an oddity for you to wear a gown to anything, you laugh. oddity. this place must be infectious! what the heck, gown it is! luckily its easy to put on and more far more androgynous than expected. it's very nearly like wearing a lightweigh black and grey kilt, like at the highland games. you look over your balcony and see a contingent in formal black-and-white star-trek looking body suit type unforms pause and bow to a group in what appears to be tuxedo labcoats with tails. looking in the mirror, you don't look half bad!
you have a few good drinks in you, or was that a good few? the air is pleasantly neutral, sometimes just a bit warm, at others a slight chill. the ocean makes the air noticably humid with a slght salt tang, but it's the perfect temperature for it. the slight breeze feels good on your legs, and the white, nearly glowing sand covering the outdoor conference room's floor is pleasing between your toes. your shoes are probably gone with the glass from the previous manhattan... you didn't like those shoes anyway. good riddance!
the keynote was actually pretty good! a little bit dull as you knew all the stuff the keynote speaker was talking about, and she seemed a tiny bit bored herself, like she's given the pitch eleventy-one times already... come to think of it, as she's a founder and cto of a company doing the kind of thing this conference is about, you realize she probably has. her wild perple hair... you've seen it before. the next sip of your drink brings back the memory of its namesake city, and an elevator.
you were on your way up to the 58th floor for an interview†, and (yes, the memory is clear now) this nervous seemingly little girl with purple hair and an actual physical portfolio case (black and leather looking and nearly as large as her) rode the lift with you, although you notice she's not as young as she appears: she's just short. you notice that the only other floor selected is 103. and you notice that she is staring at you now, probably because (you realize belatedly) you've been staring at her for at least a dozen floors.
"interview? your first big one?" she asks.
"um... somthing like that," you manage to mumble
"it's dangerous to go alone! take this." as she is saying this (sounds familiar), she's expertly juggling her purse, the comically oversized portfolio case, and something aroud by her left hand. (you feel she just quoted something important, but can't place it)
as the bell for your floor dings and the doors open, she tucks something warm and maybe metal? into your hand and says "quick! put it in your pocket for luck! look at it later or you'll be late. give it back to me someday!"
you nearly fumble putting the whatever-it-is into your pocket as the lift doors are closing. the last you see is a smile as you hear a fading "don't panic!"
// current tail. betwixt here and the footnotes seperator, there be unfinshed dragons. and that you heard the elevator version of that pitch waaay back, 5, maybe 6 years ago, before she was a notable cto giving a keynote address to a large and prestigious* ) vr gametech conference this one. ke back when there were 2 founders and a part time employee with a mohawk and studs in his head run in to someone at a conference in a little out of the way bar where it's just a bit quieter and you can hear yourself think
├◉─◇───◇─ footnotes ──◇─◯◦─
you feel the word 'pretentious' slip past your right eyeball and invade your frontal lobe. it breaks into the stream of your thoughts, despite your conscious and diligent efforts to be less cynical... aaannnnndddd theoretically happier, because you are sort of reading ”the tao of pooh”, based on the footnote of some really weird lady's post on reddit a handful of years ago, and this whole thing about being an uncarved block kind of made sense, but was frustratingly both seductively elusive and easy to be cynical about at the same time.
you got the job! you were very nervous at first, but you felt the thing the purple haired girlprincesswoman gave you in the elevator. every time you started squirming‡ because of a question asked (c'mon, "where do you see this company in 5 years?" how the hell are you supposed to answer to that?), you got stabbed on the top of your thigh, right in the rectus femoris, by something in your pocket. this sensation was nearly like getting an injection, and you found it distracting enough you couldn't quite focus on the more inane questions (squirm - stab, repeat) and just said what was on your mind. apparently it, whatever 'it' was, was working, as the facial hair on the man bobbed slightly out of sync with his nods. the woman next to him was quiet and very tomboy-ish; if the peter pan played by maud adams on broadway had a kid with the tinkerbell from hook (1992 julia roberts, not the awful 2024 remake with a cg remade kardashian- glack) and they were raised climbing trees in pixi skorts decorated with pink skulls... but decided to put on an immaculately tailored gray zoot suit made just for her by the costume designers of the matrix... (1999, not the 2023 reboot)
anyway, the tomboy (maud, she introduced herself as later, and she said she liked her name and never changed it) seemed to enjoy your answers, and cut... ned? hagbard?... off in the middle of some convoluted thing he must have proudly dredged from the bowels of the earliest internet archives; rumores and tall tales of ''questions" steve jobs asked potential apple employees like jony ive to tourture them where the scars wouldn't show.
at a glace from maud, "hagbard, pollice verso, commodus? tick-tock! tick tock!"
hagbard locked eyes with you, straightened his posture, and the facial hair grinned a few milliseconds before he did. without looking away he extended his arm like a roman emperor, made a fist, and gave maud the thumbs up. he turned on his heel, his beard followed a tad later, and out the door he went.
"so.... would it sound weird if i asked about what you have in your pocket?" // better phrasing. possible lotr gollum reference.
it's a bad habit you have that is more common than you realized back when you were asked increasingly awkward questions by that guy... what was his name at the time? ted? ned? hagbard? he has changed it at least 3 times since you've been working there and got to known him a bit. at least he got rid of that ridiculous face eating victorian english thing he called mutton chops!
https://preview.redd.it/xlyburbgzvy51.png?width=697&format=png&auto=webp&s=266d2a6ea57de555366adb54dfb50deeaff823d5 Queens Enter after Tokyos Elimination Soshilina:well our tokyo is gone Joanna:im not gona lie i thought she will make it to the end Anita:same i mean her entrence was gag worthy Maja:so yall are saying i should go home tonight? Antoniette:well your talent show was maybe the weakest Maja:speak for your fucking self Antoniette:girl i am not trying to be in another drama so relax Maja:fucking bullshit*snatches off her wig* Jay L.Bird and Soshilina step to the back Jay:so i thought if we could have some our time alone togetter? Soshillina:sorry sis its not time for sex this is a competision and i was safelast week so i need to step it up*walks to the girls* Jay Sobs Anita:so lets congrats our winner Debbie Delight!!! Antoniette:you fucking deserve it Kit:not really,im sorry but im just pissed i was safe Nina:i was low sis so shut your ass up Kit:try me bitch! Nina Throws her hill at her face Kits nose starts to bleed Kit:bitch,what the heck*slaps Nina\* Nina and Kit starts to fight Debbie:guys guys relax!!!!! Bea:Nina relax*pushes them back* Bea:stop it yall are adults Nina:by her personality,shes not! Kit:fuck off bitch! Anita:well we know eachother for 3 weeks and there are coupels and fights! Lady:crazyyyyyyyyy NEXT DAY Queens enter the room Kit walks in with her red nose....WFFUIFUHFUE LOL Joanna:well ladies i cant wait for the next challange Maja:i cant wait to be in the bottom again Anita:you gona be fine girl! Maja CF:anita is to nice,i dont trust that bitch! Bea:well i hope we are doing comedyyyyyy OOP OOP OOP YALL GOT FOXY MAIL Queens scream of joy Foxy Mail:ladies vegas id full of lights,casinos and suprises and the most intresting part their performance! Antoniette:fuck talent show again,lol Nikky Fox comes in:HELLO HELLO HELLO MY SHOW GIRLS,Ladies this week is gona be full of energy,costumes and lights beacse we are having a Vegas RuSical ladies but first please welcome our vegas show girls Derick Berry and farrah moan,ladies derick will teach you moves and farrah will teach you how do you sexy on stage,ladies and on the runway this week yall are gona be my Vegas Show Girls GOOD LUCK AND DONT FOX IT UP! Nikky,farrah and derick leaved the room Anita CF:let me say i can lip sync and sing but write a song.....or even energetc dance..... Maja Sleeps on The Sofa Kit CF:im sweating over here and making my costume work when that bitch is over there sleeping! Joanne:girlllll you got to learn the lyrics and learn those dance moves Maja:bitch im a show girl let me sleep Anita:maja its better to learns those dance moves lady! Jay:girl ima win this challage! Soshilina:in your dreams boi THE NEXT DAY(PERFORMANCE AND THE RUNWAY DAY) Queens are doing their makeup They hear a loud BAM Anita:oh my god its my look! Nina:let me help Anita:great the look ripped Nina:sis yu helped my makeup,lets help your look Lady:or wear your backup Debbie:yeah your backup its actually better then the OG look for me Anita:ok then but its really not me tho......But i think its time for a little change! Nina:period girl ON THE STAGE Nikky fox is comming down the stage https://preview.redd.it/i06miackzvy51.png?width=340&format=png&auto=webp&s=c0a75e9152497455482e71cf06222ae4af3e29d6 Nikky Fox:welcome to Nikky foxs drag race Season 2,please welcome our 2 special 2 guest judges! Farrah Moan https://preview.redd.it/k3yp3qtkzvy51.png?width=279&format=png&auto=webp&s=92438b074ec51380b971575cd5adae46c8a1de34 Derick Barry https://preview.redd.it/hyw0kkflzvy51.png?width=205&format=png&auto=webp&s=0aaed01f6f8d7ea21f16f96644b767b5c003a586 Farrah:awwwww hi nikky Derick:its derick bitch,hiiii! Nikky:period,but this week my queens had to perform a Vegas rusical number and on the runway they had to be my Vegas show Girls! GOOD LUCK AND DONT FOX IT UP! *after the rusical\* Nikky fox:well its time for the runway the theme is....Vegas Show Girls Debbie Delight https://preview.redd.it/h737vbepzvy51.png?width=403&format=png&auto=webp&s=18c2e4390142875b034d7acc22f847ed2ca9943b Joanna Fidelia https://preview.redd.it/u4zq1qctzvy51.png?width=240&format=png&auto=webp&s=f1411d83c702ec149a43a1a6088892909fbc3f0d Bea Darling https://preview.redd.it/livfql5uzvy51.png?width=273&format=png&auto=webp&s=d9dcea6e68cdcbbbeb6e187ad1feb5ee016756ff Anita Drink https://preview.redd.it/sujb8akuzvy51.png?width=289&format=png&auto=webp&s=24e51894e4ede91b144b9bae660c6b0284f5f072 Jay L.Bird https://preview.redd.it/xrxghjyuzvy51.png?width=293&format=png&auto=webp&s=dfd565ff07c095cd90d98b745a252b1cbb77a83d Soshilina Evangelista https://preview.redd.it/qr1lzuhvzvy51.png?width=257&format=png&auto=webp&s=bc70fa2c3a85d5b209d9d8ed51ac8354054718fd Kit Anna https://preview.redd.it/llfepnewzvy51.png?width=255&format=png&auto=webp&s=e456f1358a65b03367d4e866fa31844ff8c2f55f Lady Hyacinth https://preview.redd.it/xkj8158xzvy51.png?width=228&format=png&auto=webp&s=216d647cea6062cdf6092a2f3705ce1b528caeb8 Nina Carlye https://preview.redd.it/fm914dkyzvy51.png?width=152&format=png&auto=webp&s=b878d8d892ecf5b21e020a4f56e943ea0c3ad31f Antoniette Avangaar https://preview.redd.it/7avwff3zzvy51.png?width=260&format=png&auto=webp&s=2122f5ff26af8dbee56fc2e580e580f1bde87cec Maja Blanca She didnt gave a look! Chille Nikky fox:ladies me,deric and farrah made some decisions! Farrah moan:ladies when incall your name please step forward.....Debbie Delight,Lady Hyacinth and Bea Darling ladies you are safe,you may go untuck back stage UNTUCK Lady Hyacinth CF:the whole competision i am safe like girl thats my third time i need to step my game up Bea Darling CF:i fell very ok that im safe this week,but i gues i would be happy if i was high Debbie CF:after i won last week i know im sronger then safe so....i need my second win! Bea:well where my drink at Lady:in untuck we dont have drinks we have popcorn and soda Bea:better then my tap water in my room Lady Laughs Lady:so who gona win? Bea:i swear if soshilina gets her second win,girl.....she was amazing and i hate that! Bea:gurl soshilina is killing it but maybe Kit has this win! Ladies talk CRITIQUES Derick:that means you represent tops and bottoms First up Anita drink Nikky fox:today your energy was very low and you didnt catch the moves! Farrah Moan:but this runway its my favorite today,i think you look sexy and glam and thats what i need from evryone! Derick:the Singing was on point to be real you have a voice of an angel,it was not a comedy rusical but you made it funny! Joanna Fidelia Nikky fox:today your energy was fucking fierce ,you knew evry word of your lyrics Farrah Moan:today you look fucking fierce,you are showing that body-ody-ody! Derick:the singing was not the best but ok you made it really intresting to watch Jay L.Bird Nikky Fox:your energy was very low this week and im very suprised about that Farrah Moan:you look fierce today,you represent the kings and you did it amazing Derick:the singing was very bad your voice was shaking like crazy and thats not it! Soshilina Evangelista Nikky Fox:today you were great,when the camera was not on you,you still performed the house down! Farrah Moan:today you look like a fucking fierce ass diva whos going to a crazy rich vegas party! Derick Barry:you were high energy your voice was like beyonce and thats on perioddddd Kit Anna Nikky Fox:today you did high kick into a split and i way living great job Farrah Moan:not my favorite runway today,but mama you still look like star Derick Barry:your voice its soooooo good you should be proud Nina Carlye Nikky Fox:im not gona lie,i didnt have an idea you wear such a good dancer beacuse you what....killed it! Farrah Moan:you look very good today beacuse this colour just looks so damn good on you! Derick Barry:You were very shaking when u sang but at the end you killed it! Antoniette Avangaar Nikky Fox:ima tell for evrything,runway,energy singing was meh..... Maja Blanca Nikky Fox:your dancing was ofc perfect but the energy once again was low Farrah Moan:you ddint had a look....girl its season 2! Derick Barry:I-your singing was so shaking that it was so awkward Nikky Fox:ladies i made some decisions.........Nina and Joanna great job today you ladies are safe Nikky fox:Kit Anna,........condragulations you are the winner of this weeks challange,thst means Soshilina you are safe Nikky Fox:ladies 2 of you are safe and those are.....Anita Drink and Antoniette Avangaar....you may step to the back of the stage Nikky Fox:that means Jay L.Bird and Maja Blanca im sorry my foxies but you are up for elimination! Nikky fox:my foxies you need to perform a lip sync by Spice Girls"Spice Up Your life" Jay starts by taking off his cape and he brings a little comedy,Maja starts by shaking her boobies and doing her chill dancing,Jay ddi an cartweel into a deathdroop,Maja does not know the words but she stilll fights and she ddi one again high kick into a split,Jay ends it with his sexy movements on the floor,Maja end it with a slowsplit Anita CF:this lip sync was a mess! Nikky Fox:ummm meh,but Jay L.Bird shantay you stay Maja:nikky girl you dont need to say nothing,All Stars here I come. Maja CF: I might be going home but I know myself that I did my best and better get ready cause All Stars is where I will win. Nikky:well amen!!!! Queens:amen!!!! NEXT WEEK!!!! Hiii next week we are having a roast so come with 3 roast jokes at least 1 of them needs to be of nikky foxand the last 2 can be whatever you want and on the runway i need your Blue and Yellow looks See yall PHOTO FASHION RUVIEW Kit anna-toot Soshilina-shoot Joanna Fidelia-toot Nina Carlye-toot Debbie Delight-soft toot Bea Darling-boot(sorry) Lady hyacinth-toot Antoniette Avangaar-boot Anita Drnk-Shoot Jay L.Bird-toot Maja Blanca-didnt get the look TOP TOOT OF THE WEEK-Soshilina and Anita Drink SPREADSHEETS-YALLS TRACK RECORD! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wt1bLr1j0Q_rUHRt6qGL7XxpxeRIcod_E09UG9HeiN0/edit?usp=sharing u/Sotoryfaeu/ShaankZu/sharris2475u/CelestialWizard07u/Morgan1307u/Soshiwoshiu/xtinamaniac
Fans of Resident Evil were more than happy to see Capcom come out with another zombie title that replaces tight hallways and puzzles with open-world exploration and a level-up system. The creation of Dead Rising, back in 2006, was a breath of fresh air that was surprisingly supposed to be a sequel to Shadow of Rome, which is a random gladiator game that pretty much nobody played but was something far ahead of its time. Fast forward about 10 years and 3 games later, and Dead Rising is as dead as the zombies that plague its mall, casinos, city, and mall again. Granted, the games changed from a Japanese studio to a Canadian studio after the first one was a smash hit and it was very visible that the second game was already of a different quality. However, once it hit 3, there was such a huge difference in the way the game functioned and played out, people outright refused to bother playing it(it didn’t help that it was an Xbox exclusive until the poorly optimized PC port came out). When it comes down to the first installment being a goofy game that lets you dress as a little school girl and ride a tricycle while zombies are swatting at wasps and yellow raincoat cult members are blowing themselves up, it’s hard to imagine people complaining that the third and fourth game got too silly for their own good. What a lot of people don’t realize is how that is a legitimate concern from gamers, due to the situation that is what I like to call “invisible nuance”. This invisible nuance is where people are unable to understand how the games differ from 1 and 2 over to 3 and 4, and this is because 1 and 2 are satire, while 3 and 4 are parody. In fact, 4 is a parody of the entire series, making it a parody of a parody. With that slight nuance, the Canadian designers not only ruined the story for everyone, but they ruined any chance of a fifth game until Capcom gets so desperate they might as well summon up their own zombie horde to sit down and buy their games. I understand that not many people understand the difference between parody and satire, and I am certain the developers didn’t either when they adopted the IP from the Japanese studio. This is why I believe that the second game was accidentally good, even though they still fumbled on things like making Chuck a really iffy kind of melee fighter at full level and how the game was starting to become a little bit too cartoony for its own good. To put it simply, satire is when a work of art is making fun a genre or work by being part of it. Parody is when a work of art is taking a genre or another work of art and is using it to make jokes that are unrelated to what it’s basing itself on. Satire uses humor to show flaws in human behavior or culture, while parody uses an established work of art to make a joke. It’s very difficult to understand the difference, I know, but I think I’m able to make it simple to understand with a few examples. My favorite example is the difference between Scream and Scary Movie. Scream is satire, Scary Movie is a parody. Scream has a plot revolving around the tropes of slasher films, Scary Movie has a chick belittle her killer after she’s decapitated. Scream has the group follow clues from slasher movies to avoid being killed, Scary Movie has a dude cum so hard the girl on top of him is stuck to the ceiling. If that doesn’t make the difference clear to you, then, I’m sorry, I fear you have the case of the brain worms. The plot of Dead Rising is a satire of Resident Evil, mixed with a take on American consumerism. The entire reason the zombie outbreaks occur in the mall is because a terrorist group wanted to bring the problem a corporation invoked on their Latino town of Santa Cabeza, all because the company wanted to make more cows in order to feed Americans. It’s not that Americans are staring, but rather they are demanding, and the best place to see American demand back in 2006 was in a shopping mall on Black Friday. Shaun of the Dead did a similar satire moment where they showed shoppers at a store walking like zombies because that’s pretty much how they look, just switch the words “brains” with “bargains”. Surprisingly, the first game doesn’t have money as an issue, although it was great when the second game implemented it for its theme of corporate anti-culture and big pharma. So far, we have two games that follow their themes very well and are applying them as a satire. The mall setting is a satire set up for consumerism, while the casino and wrestling ring strip in the second game is a satire set up for anti-culture turning people into greedy slobs that just want to watch blood matches and gamble. Even the main characters of Frank and Chuck work well as themes, with Frank being a journalist(he’s covered wars, you know) and Chuck being a motocross champion turned gladiator. Both of these cause their outbreaks for different reasons and both of these have a beautiful grip on what makes the psychopaths “psychopaths”. Psychopaths are the result of someone going crazy due to the outbreak and because the designers needed a reason to have boss battles across the game’s 3-day span. Just having them there was satire since it’s kind of rare to see people going crazy in zombie movies (back then) and it was interesting to see how humans would turn on humans by having PTSD and a history of being oppressed or already psychotic. The idea of Frank covering wars and then coming home to deal with people having PTSD is a great theme, due to how war has to be glorified in the American news to keep the war effort going, and then the soldiers come home and reveal how terrible it actually was. The first game even has a moment where a psychopath named Cliff goes crazy in a home repair store and after you defeat him, he gives a dramatic monologue about how he snapped the second he saw his granddaughter get eaten by zombies. It’s a heart-wrenching moment that is perfectly finished by Frank closing Cliff’s eyes with a hand and letting out a defeated sigh. Much like how it is in war, not every battle won is a victory. Then there are Psychopaths like Adam the clown who are memorable for the wonderful performance by the voice actor and how intense the battle is. But no matter what Psychopath we deal with, they all follow a theme and an archetype. Adam is the Caino archetype clown, one who is miserable but desires others to laugh and enjoy themselves. This gets twisted into him tying people onto a thrill ride and juggling chainsaws for the sake of “amusement”. The grocery clerk, Steven Chapman, is the archetype of the perfect retail employee. His archetype is twisted into someone who shrieks at the top of his lungs for people to get out of his store and he sets up a shopping cart with pitchforks and blades on it. There’s even a cult leader in a movie theater to make reference to the “cult of personality” where people go to watch and indulge in pointless films to simply argue and create teams against each other about “what media is better than another” with none of them realizing that they are just blindly following propaganda that makes them feel good or powerful. There’s a reason for these psychopaths to be there. They follow themes, they are archetypes, their actions relate to their themes, and even their settings fit their themes to create this deep experience that sticks with you, all while poking fun at the subject of consumerism. That is why people enjoy satire. The events are making fun of the major themes and subjects, all while being a part of those themes and subjects. The survivors are the same way, where you’re trying to save their lives and yet some of them worry more about food, when they are already fat, or they are found doing something they enjoyed in their normal life as if the zombie apocalypse is the perfect excuse to rush to escapism. In the second game, they do the same thing with corporations and big pharma, and they use satire in a similar way but didn’t really tie their themes to either one. Instead, they tied their themes to job titles and employment. Ted Smith, the tiger tamer who looks like if Bobby Hill had a baby with a potato and fed it paint chips, becomes a Psychopath to treat the tiger he grew attached to. Antoine Thomas, the chef that is a bitch to kill, goes crazy trying to create the perfect dish with human flesh. Or is it zombie flesh? Either way, once you meet the mailman with a shotgun who goes postal(yes, I went there, because the game went there), it’s easy to see that they are simply going crazy the same way the grocery clerk of the previous game went crazy. They had a job, they became that job, and they will die as that job. It’s kind of a way to talk about corporatism, but it’s also kind of not. This is why I think DR2 was starting to get messy with its themes and satire, because even though they were using satire to make fun of people who take their jobs too seriously, it’s not really part of the main theme, so it’s understandable why the Psychopaths are not as memorable. Strangely enough, the ones that are memorable are the ones who do fit the corporation theme, like the CURE terrorist who fights you with broken glass, and TK who serves as the main antagonist. Zombrex, the entire reason the game happens, due to big pharma needing zombies to create queens, which allows them to make more zombrex, is the biggest aid in the main theme. Even if you kill TK, the outbreaks will continue, because they would need more zombrex, which requires more zombies, which then makes more people need more zombrex. I swear that theme was far too genius for its own good. Sadly, the only part of the gameplay that relates to it is going over to a pawn shop that is owned by a faceless entity to buy weapons and zombrex, and that’s about it. I guess you can count the “spend money to make money” mentality with gambling because the entire business practice is a gamble, but I’m not really sure if that’s intentional or if I’m just fishing for anything relevant. To wrap up the satire segment, it’s kind of clear that the main idea behind the first 2 games, when it came to satire, was how the themes matched the events and the actions, as well as the humor. Anything goofy going on gameplay-wise is not part of the “world” that the story is setting up. You don’t craft weapons during a cutscene and it’s not like the game forces you to dress up like Megaman for a mission. Granted, there is the ability to be kidnapped by cultists in the first game and you wake up in a box in your underwear, but that’s still part of the gameplay, where it belongs. Now… let’s talk about parody, and boy is this going to be a rant. The third game is where everything goes downhill, story-wise. The idea of big pharma is gone, the idea of American consumerism is there accidentally, and the designers wanted to put a big emphasis on how combo weapons exist. You play as Nick Ramos, who is a mechanic and… that’s his entire character. While Frank was a big mouth pacifist who seeks the truth and Chuck was a hard-ass who wants safety for future generations, Nick is a clean slate who likes to scramble on the floor and awkwardly ask people why they’re killing people. Nick is no longer a character, but rather, a walking joke. He’s nothing more than the voice of the director telling the audience what they should be thinking in order for their awkward scenes to work. His over the top expressions, as if he’s auditioning to play the dad from Son of the Mask, are what the director wants the player to do when a fat lady stabs a man with an oversized fork or when a MILF cop puts his hand on her fake tit. The idea isn’t that he’s a satire of the typical zombie hero, but rather a slapstick parody of what the player does during gameplay. It’s hard to imagine Nick being shocked at a few dead bodies, then quickly fly into action with a boxing glove that has an acetylene tank taped onto it. The amount of difference between cutscenes and gameplay is so extreme, we’re more inclined to skip Psychopath introductions because Nick doesn’t act like the character we’ve been playing as, but rather acts like a helpless survivor that wandered away from the safe house. And before I go off on how the Psychopaths are like in the third game, I have to say that the idea of using the seven deadly sins was an okay idea. It’s not bad. I like themes that represent something. But what the hell does the seven deadly sins have to do with the theme of the story? I have to get into the main theme before I talk about the Psychopaths. While DR1 was about consumerism, and DR2 was about corporatism, DR3 flew way off-topic and decided to make a game about zombies discuss privacy and citizen rights. Yeah… I’m not a genius when it comes down to zombie tropes, but what exactly does a Hispanic dude helping out a group who call themselves The Illegals have to do with the plot of a zombie outbreak? If anything, the plot is saying “these illegals are a risk because there are people who create outbreaks if they are not tracked” and then the gameplay says “you must save these people who risk more outbreaks because they want to do things their own way” with then the plot later going “hey, remember those illegals, you have to help them because this one chick is an illegal and she’s important for no real reason.” Seriously, Annie, the major subplot out of like 5 different unrelated subplots, is Nick’s main objective in the beginning for no real reason. It’s never shown that they are dating, it’s never said she’s important to him, and it’s never said what Nick’s reason is other than “I have to find her”. This can only be concluded as a parody of how games give you missions for no reason. “Bring me 10 goat foreskins”. Why? I don’t know, but I’ll reward you with exp and gold. These main characters have nothing to them except for Gary, who is a mobster who used to be a wrestler, which touches a fall from grace personality that makes him cocky in his ability but humble in his situation. Everyone else is no longer an archetype or even remotely relatable to a character we can point to any zombie media. Annie is a babydoll goth only by appearance, Rhonda is a pinup punk, Red is a beatnik. These aren’t personalities, they are costumes that follow a stereotype, and they didn’t even bother to include the stereotype. Instead, we get these empty husks that are ready to tell jokes instead of supporting the reason why they are there, to begin with. Okay, I’ve delayed it long enough… It's time to talk about the Psychopaths. We get seven major Psychopaths that fill out the seven sins: Lust is an S&M performer who you find in a porn shop, gluttony is a fat lady on a scooter you find in a buffet, greed is a surgeon who is collecting organs, sloth is a champagne socialist you find in his mansion, wrath is a zen monk in his garden, envy is a nerd on a yacht who tries to be like Nick, and pride is a female bodybuilder you find in a gym. At first, from that alone, you can go “oh, that sounds good. The themes are in order, they don’t have much wrong with them, and they don’t conflict with their symbolism.” That is because, on paper, they are almost flawless. But once executed and given dialogue, they are no longer satire. They become parodies of sins. The only ones that stay in their lane are the surgeon and the S&M gimp, and that’s because their personalities and roles are easy to make rather threatening and psychopathic. The rest of them become these over the top cartoon representations that fart a lot and make jokes like they’re Jim Carrey during the dream scene in Dumb and Dumber. I swear, I’m not joking, two of them, sloth and gluttony, shit themselves when they die. Wrath, an old monk who’s gone mad and says “pretentious big brain Buddhist riddles” has his last word be “Seriously?!” after reminiscing about having a family. There’s nothing really about them that makes them sinners, other than how they set up jokes. Pride gets called “sir” by Nick, and it’s funny because she’s just a really buff chick with short hair, and Nick is supposed to be the player and Nick is a misgendering idiot. The rest of the Psychopaths, who are part of the main story, have very little to do with anything. To put it plainly, the theme we’ve established with the concept of illegals and citizen rights and privacy, the only thing the main story Psychopaths relate to is that some of them are police officers and military officials. This is just a parody of the previous games, where they had two DHS agents try to find out what’s going on with you, and now the government is your biggest enemy because there is The Illegals organization and they are important and stuff. I don’t think I have to get into the subject of the illegal crisis the US has had since before Dead Rising was a thing, but, just so we’re clear, the bitten illegals are a parody of the immigration illegals. They create an organization, they claim they just want to be safe and do things on their own, they want to stay off the grid, and then they have people like Red who go out of their way to destroy government property and we have people like Annie who has a father (Chuck Greene) who’s in charge of a mafia. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a Spanish soap opera more than it sounds like a zombie game. Nothing about them is saying why they are illegal, or what the illegal status means to an outsider, or what the illegal status means to an insider. They say they are free and then they are held up in a shelter surrounded by zombies and they need Nick to save them. Speaking of Nick, let’s talk about his tattoo. Later on in the game, it’s revealed that Nick is part of an experiment where they had a bunch of children, who are immune to the virus but also carry it, go out into different places. The reason is kind of so that they can infect places, which is seen in an awful cutscene that is literally a museum of exposition, and it’s hinted that Nick or his friend Diego might have been the reason people were infected in their area, but it’s never really said. Instead, they drop that plot point and talk about how Nick is the cure. So, the entire time we’re playing as Nick, we are shown that he’s useless in human interactions and is a weakling, but then now he’s the cure and the savior of the human race, as long as he can be taken away and studied. This is a parody of exactly what Frank West’s character went through in the first game, which was a hero’s journey. You see, a hero’s journey, when applied with the Jungian form that Frank West had, is done right, you get a story that flows well and makes sense. Frank had the call of adventure towards the mall, he’s helped by the DHS agents, he gets mentors and helpers along the way, then he’s thrown into the abyss of the conspiracy, he changes from a journalist to a warrior of truth, he finds out he’s bitten and will soon turn, then he is granted the reward of finding a temporary cure with Isabella’s help. Near the end, he also encounters his shadow, who is a military commander. Frank is out to reveal the truth, while the military commander is out to conceal the truth. The battle challenges Frank’s beliefs of whether or not hiding such a big scoop is the right thing to do. Nick’s journey is a parody of this, minus the shadow. He starts off as useless, never really works for anything to happen, the entire story exists without him needing to be there, then near the end, they say “by the way, you’re important”, all for the story to say Nick is still not really that important and reveal that Isabella caused the outbreak so that Nick can reveal himself as someone who’s immune. This isn’t a hero’s journey. It’s not even a journey. It’s a series of unfortunate events that reward Nick for absolutely no reason. He has to survive because he’s special, but he didn’t do anything to be special, other than magically be good at combining things, which… is something everyone else can do in this world. The best way I can say his character fits the theme is by saying “the cure to a bad situation is to have someone who can fix stuff”. Doesn’t that sound absolutely engaging? Now, what about the fourth game? Is there anything else I really have to add to hammer in the idea that these two failures were accidental parodies? I guess I can say that the fourth game goes over consumerism, again, but leaves it at “hey, Christmas is a thing, right?” Nothing in the story really deals with the theme of consumerism because that game has the theme of freaking transhumanism. The main villain is a dude who’s a conscious zombie with robot armor and Frank West turns into a zombie, only to be turned back into a human. Frank turns into a rotting corpse… then he turns back into a fully functional human. Trust me, that’s a parody. That’s just a joke with nothing funny attached to it, much like most of Frank’s dialogue in the fourth game. All he does is wisecracks and Uncharted-esque zingers. His personality is to wait for someone to give him material to make fun of and to have pointless arguments with Asian women. Even when I say the theme is about transhumanism, it really does just end at that. There are no more Psychopaths, they replaced them with maniacs. The maniacs are a parody of Psychopaths. Characters like the Sadistic Claus and Captain Black Fridaybeard have nothing to do with the theme and they have nothing to do with reality. They are just there, wielding electric axes and ice swords because that’s how the designers wanted to reward the player for defeating an opponent that is easier than finding something to be disappointed within the game. Archetypes are more than just catchphrases, vernacular, and stereotypes. They have an actual purpose and theme that is carried out by their actions and desires because the most important part of an archetype is their specific desire. When all the maniac simply desires is “kill everything” then they’re no different from a wandering zombie. They are reduced to a parody of what the psychopaths were. The story was reduced to a parody of the first game, with the theme even being parodied as “with consumerism, we can achieve transhumanism” as part of the plot. It’s basically saying, “you eat a lot and we end up with robo-zombies that talk.” Frank himself was reduced to a parody of Frank, with his charismatic journalistic archetype being replaced by Carrot Top and his bag o’ funny props. At no point am I saying that parody is bad. To be honest, I love parody movies like Scary Movie, especially Scary Movie 2. However, when we want to make a game fun, and when it’s a game like Dead Rising, the jokes of said parody should make us actually laugh. It should try to make us amused, and that’s hard to do with a setting that’s also trying to take itself seriously at times. It’s like trying to enjoy a parody episode of Simpson’s Treehouse of Horrors and the entire time they play it off like it’s supposed to be serious. That serious tone is great for satire, but it’s just too out of place for parody. Parody can exist within satire, but satire cannot exist within a parody. Satire relies on the themes of the subject to make the humor have its punch, while parody is simply a joke that uses a theme and subject as a platform to talk about something unrelated. I believe the designers who messed up on that little bit of nuance had the right intentions but didn’t have the right direction. If anything, nobody told them the first game was satire and the second game was kind of trying to copy the first game in approach and they lucked out by great observation. But the second they decided to try something else, they had no idea what the original plan was and went off into their presumed direction, parody. It’s amazing how such a small mistake can cause such big problems, but let that be a lesson to you. The slightest misunderstanding you have of the art you try to mimic can cause the biggest differences in how people compare yours with the original source. There are things that stick with people and there are things that fall flat. The more you understand the established concepts that people enjoy, the better you’ll be able to please your audience and returning fans. If you don’t understand how the art was well received, and you go by “top trends of the previous year”, you’re going to make another Dead Rising 4.
(So.... ya'll voted very interestingly this week. o.o) Sophie struts the runway in a red jumpsuit. My name’s Sophie Srs… and this is Drag Race! Katanna! My Top 3 Sister. Are we ready for some vegas shows? "Well, why have a show when I am the show?" Katanna winks, and in a burst of TV Magic, a Crown Appears. She got the crown she deserves! For this week’s Maxi Challenge, Our Monarchs have been Hosting their way through a Vegas Casino. Now... May the best Monarch… win! ~ I'll be honest... this week ladies and gentlemen? I struggled. It's... been very tight. Let's start with Robin Steele. Robin waves. "Charmed." Robin, this week you gave a pretty good performance. It was a bit sleazy, a bit fun, and... overall solid. Your look was lovely, and that really bumped you out too. It wasn't the best. But it was... decent. "I agree. I feel like the bottom 4 was kinda all of decent, and you were among that. I think what worked for you is that tone wise, you were in your element. Well done." Katanna nods. Robin smirks. "It feels... good. I've wanted to prove myself here, and.. I'm happy I've shown you what I'm worth." Fame Fontaine. "Judges." Fame smiles. "I found there was a lot of effort in your hosting, which worked. However.. the fact you were next to Gloria brought you down a little." Katanna nods. "It was just.. not amazing." "Totally understand." Fame nods. I have to agree. You were just not meeting the mark this week, but this look...wow. Top Toot. Sophie smiles. I love it. You look sexy, you look fierce, and... I just am obsessed with you, Fame. You're gorgeous. Fame laughs. "Thank you." Vebera Ahida... "Heyo!" Vebera smiles. "I'll be honest when I say..." Katanna gulps. "I don't remember you!" "Oh." Vebera laughs. "It was just.. not memorable. I think like, clearly, you're interesting. But.. this runway look, and this... performance.. you seemed out of your element." Katanna sighs. I have to agree. You shine, Vebera. But I fear... you're running out of steam... "I have a lot to show. I want to make it to the end." Vebera looks at Sophie. "So, I apologize for this week." Sophie nods. Fraggot... "Heyooooooo!" Fraggot smiles. "I thought you were amongst the same as the others, pretty decent." Katanna smiles. "You were fun, campy, entertaining. BUT. This looks is where you failed. Not to say it's not good, but compared to everyone else... bar Vebera... it didn't meet the mark." "I was hoping this week would be early on, because I didn't quite feel the same way about this look then I did others.." Fraggot smiles. "I totally get it. Not the best quality." I think you are so much fun, Fraggot. But you just... didn't quite... meet the mark this week. Fraggot nods. Finally, Gloria. "Gloria!" Gloria laughs. I loved this week, if ALL for you. You were campy, you were fun, your were entertaining, you were classic, you were charming, and you LOOKED great. I literally... just loved. Well done. Gloria smiles. "I gotta agree. I have no notes beyond the words- 'You're a Superstar'." Katanna grins. "Thank you." Gloria nods. Thank you, My Monarch's. Whilst we deliberate... you may untuck backstage. ~ "God, this is close..." Fame goes to the mirror. "Let's slay this." "I'm... going to sit." Robin sits on the couch, smiling with Gloria. "So, Madame Gloria..." Robin raises his glass. "To being Top 4." Gloria looks at Robin then raises her glass. "Hmm.." "Gloria... have you thought this?" Robin purses his lips. "Perhaps you've judged me.." "You stole my wig, Robin." Gloria shrugs. "I think it warrants enough judgement." "In my city, in my town, I grew up poor. I had very few opportunities to do anything. So... I stole. I worked my way through, using my best skill- my charm." Robin shrugs. "And.. it got me places?" "And it doesn't warrant actions like that." Gloria looks at Robin. "But perhaps... you understand my story. I know you have gotten through.. trauma yourself." Robin sighs. "And perhaps... I was wrong." "I still don't trust you, Robin." Gloria exhales. "But.. I understand you." "Thank you." Robin nods. "I just..." Robin sighs. "I want to win this." "We all do." Gloria shrugs. "But only one of us will..." Meanwhile, Vebera, Fraggot and Fame prepare to lipsync. "It's going to be a battle, ladies.." Fame smiles. "And I wish you both luck." "Agreed..." Fraggot smirks, putting something into his costume. "I..." He tests his gloves, looking into them. "Want to say, of anyone lip syncing... this is going to be the most fun." "Let's get our freak on." Vebera laughs. ~ Welcome back, my Monarch's. Robin Steele, well done this week. You're safe. Robin smiles. "Thank you ever so much." Dame Gloria Deveraux, this week, you charmed us, and it was magical. Condragulations, you are the winner of this week's challenge. Gloria grins. "It's been a pleasure." ... ... ... Fame Fontaine, you're safe. Fame nods. "Thank you." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPoKiGQzbSQ&list=PLLvqRROW40BrCRVC8DkO5aI78BOK_Pbz2&index=8&t=0s&ab_channel=MissyElliott Unfortunately, that means Vebera Ahida and Fraggot, you are up for eviction. Prior to tonight, you were asked to prepare a lip sync performance to 'Get Ur Freak On' by Missy Elliot. The time has come... For you to lip sync. FOR YOU LIFE! Good luck... and don't fuck it up! Vebera Ahida: "This is a wild lip sync, and I'm going to fight. Get ready for a circus show." Fraggot: "I thought i'd be terrified, preparing to lip sync for my life. But the only feeling I have is excitement. Let's do this." ~ Who wins? Spreadsheet
Here is a 1-shot adventure I made, that could easily be fixed to suit any campaign! It comes complete with a whole town, some notable NPCs, some games to play while they are there, and a heist adventure if your players are keen!I playtested it with my group last Friday and they loved it :) Let me know what you think, or if you play it with your group! ---------- The group has come to the bustling town of Everhaven, a massive stone city in the middle of nowhere outside of all lordly jurisdiction. What once was a safehaven for unlawful deeds, gangs and thieves and murder, has since become an incredible tourist attraction for upper-class citizens to feel the thrill of skullduggery with minimal risk (as well as those looking for an easy pocket to pick). With buildings stretching towards the sky engraved with immaculate relief decor along its pillars and archways; gold and jeweled accents; and magically enhanced lighting illuminating every corner, rooftop, and statue, the city of Everhaven is an overwhelming mecca of visual stimulation.You arrive at the main square, where hundreds of other carriages are dropping off persons of every shape and size. A large group of richly adorned dwarves with gems on every finger scramble out of a red velvet carriage and immediately begin arguing about which attraction to visit first. A few high elves laugh behind their hands, though their red cheeks reveal their obvious drunken state, while leaning against a statue of angels playing fanfare trumpets in every direction - light spewing out of the metal horns in a magical rhythmic dance into the sky above. To your right is a large stable run by a sturdy group of stablehands, who are keeping busy taking care of the myriad of animals being herded into the city with frantic efficiency. Leaning against the stables are a group of rough and unfriendly looking folks, scars streaking across their exposed skin and blades at their belts. If the group talks to them, or succeeds on a 12 PER check, these are mercenaries to be hired for protection for pickpockets. (use the thug statblock (mm pg 350) for 2 silver per day or veteran (mm pg 350) for 2 gold per day).Eventually, an overzealous male half-elf (Fenian, The Silver Song) approaches you, adorned with a sequin silver vest and small white lute. He wears a hat with bells that jingles incessantly as he strides up to greet you. He offers to give you a tour of the city, and he specializes in the grand jewel of the of Everhaven - The Clover. He asks for 10 silver for the regular tour, with the best-selling vocalization, or 20 silver for without music accompaniment.Anyone with a passive perception of 10 or less will at some point, if not multiple points, be pick pocketed during their stay unless they hired a guard.On the tour he points out the various mercenary groups along the way, and makes note of the major attractions. The group can also see these if they decline his services:
The Houndgrave - the shabby pub where mercenaries hang out while in-between jobs. It is an unwashed tavern that most tourists don’t venture to, as it is pretty standard and boring - when you walk in, you immediately greeted with eye rolls and sighs, and a weary Tiefling female mercenary (Fage) approaches you asking if you are looking for an escort through town. There are swords, shields, and stuffed creature heads adorning the walls and empty bottles along the rooftop inner ledge. A roaring fire is off to the far left, and the bar with a hardy human woman (Estella) with an eyepatch behind the bar reaching for a top-shelf liquor on a ladder. She is serving a very excited looking, and out of place, elven man (Dyanmore) escorted by a tired old half-orc man (Two-Tooth) and his dog (Fang), but looks half drunk yet efficient. Two-tooth is a veteran of Everhaven, and know just about all there is to know about this town, though he is short on words.
The Pepper Parlour - a huge buffet, which spans hundreds of long tables being served water, wine, and ale from overworked servers in skimpy, tight uniforms (male and female). Against the entire far wall are foods of all type - starting with cooled foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, cold soups, cured meats, and iced sweets and moving on to hot foods like roasted potatoes and turnips, a magically rotating pig over a fire, boiling broths, steamed vegetables with exotic spices, savory noodles dripping with cheese, crispy fried meat, and sauces both sweet, spicy, and salty. There is an extensive dessert table with with honeyed pastries, candied almonds, creamed porridge, dates, figs, and chocolates.The floor is sticky and there are crumbs and bones everywhere, despite dozens of goblins shuffling around trying to clean faster than the patrons can messy the place up.
The Velvet Chariot - One of the 3 major casinos, where the theme is elegant, classy, and lush. The casino itself is rich with velvet tapestries hung from the ceiling in waves, and each game table is on its own raised platform surrounded by gold bars, with marble steps leading up to it. Each platform has its own security guard, in crushed red velvet with a gold hand brooch pinning the uniform across their chest. Small pixies flitter to and fro each guard delivering messages.Features a fighting pit that has nightly bouts between all sorts - ferocious creatures, knights, bandits, and local gangs all compete for glory and gold. The fighting pit is in the basement, dozens and dozens of winding staircases leading into a huge arena style seating with black painted walls and a single bright white light illuminating the sanded court. They do not take drop-in offers for fighters, but you can sign-up for a bout later in the week if you should be interested.
The Lunar Court - another Casino, with a dark and entrancing vibe. The roof is enchanted to look like a clear midnight sky with thousands of constellations above. The casino is made up of rows of long hallways, with each game table separated from one another in small alcoves of draped black lace, with plush cushions around a low table. On a PER 13, you can see small silver metal eyes nestled in the drapery flicking back and forth to keep an eye for security. Black and Blue Huge Dragonborn walk the halls in nothing but airy trousers gathered at the hips and ankles, adorned at the wrists and ankles by dazzling diamond bands. (roaming security)Features an elaborate spa with many relaxing attractions, such as heated pools in mushroom-filled grottos, frozen caves filled with crystals, black rooms with salted waters where you can swim with glowing fish, rooms filled with powerful waterfalls, scenic baths enchanted to be overlooking amazing views of forests with magical creatures walking nearby, lava-filled volcanoes, high in the clouds with birds and dragons flying nearby, or underwater amongst coral. They also offer a diverse menu of massage for all needs - gentle, aggressive, with tools such as stones or needles, and other additional services.
The Smiling Lady - In the center of the town square made up of the three major casinos, a huge gold statue of an elegant woman in flowing robes, with a well-placed slit along the side exposing her graceful thigh stands tall. Her smile is enchanting as she holds up a huge levitating coin, rotating between her extended hands. Glowing water shines bright falling across the statue onto the monolith she stands on below. Around the statue are water jets shooting off radiant water in varying intervals. It is a statue of Tymora, or Lady Luck, and the patron saint of Everhaven. It is common to see people toss a coin into the fountain for good luck. (if you toss a coin, gain 1 Luck point)On the hour, every hour she rotates 90 degrees to face a different casino in a huge show of dancing lights and water. Regulars believe this to be a sign that whichever casino she faces is lucky, and there is a flux of people moving from one casino to the next each hour.On a PER 13 check, you can see that there is a room beneath her for mechanics to help fix any broken mechanisms. There is a locked metal cellar-like door leading to it. Spoiler: Through the mechanic's chamber's they find an underground labyrinth connecting all of Everhaven’s attractions.There lies a poem engraved into the stone monolith:"Don't push her far or you may findYour adventures to be through.But on the draw, the stroke, the streakThe Lady smiles on you."
The Clover - The center of the three casinos, The Clover is the oldest of Everhaven’s buildings. You wouldn’t know it from looking at it, as it is also the town’s best-earning attraction and features top of the line decoration. With a towering clocktower, that is said to be the most accurate in the world, mounted above the wide entrance, the Clover is framed by rows upon rows of stained glass windows featuring fields of flowers and clovers, raining down golden coins from a sunny sky. It features the most expansive space for gaming, hosts elaborate shows for entertainment, and the bar is the cheapest in town, with the prettiest looking staff.The decor of The Clover is bright and happy - dreamy neon colors, with a general favoring of green and yellow, bright flashing lights, statues frozen mid leap in the air, or with glimmering jeweled balls suspended in bronze, or with hands and kicks stopped mid dance. There are streamers strung between pillars, which are made up of a clear translucent material which refracts light into thousands of shapes and colors along the room and the faces of the guests. There is loud music being played by a live band in the middle of the room, with a gentle male baritone singer hugging his wand and whispering with soft lips into its amplifying abilities. The roof is incredibly high, with a crystal domed ceiling and similar stained glass windows from the front circling around it.Each gaming table is in the open middle room, with game masters dressed in elaborate Masquerade type clothing - ruffles, feathers, sequins, and decadent makeup. The security is similarly dressed, but less complicated, and wear full porcelain masks.The building is made up of 3 sections:
The center, main casino.
The Bar is to the far left, which is equally flashy as the main casino. Here there are rows of booths where patrons can relax and have drinks, and the servers are very athletic dressed in very little more than feathers and sequins in appropriate places and luxurious headdresses. Your server is a handsome male human, tanned and covered in black sequins augmenting his robust muscles. (Balor) He is kind and flirtatious, but with an INS 12 you can see he hates this job and feels demeaned. Offers you an all you can drink special for 1 gold, or free if you become a member. It costs nothing to become a member but your signature on a hefty contract, written with your own spit. The pen is enchanted to know if you don’t write your own name. They also offer a wide range of food and snacks, also free for members or 2 silver per plate.
The Stage is to the far right, with space for about 200 to sit and watch. The walls are angled mirrors, so they reflect in a kaleidoscope effect what is happening on stage. Every hour on the hour a captivating show takes place, rotating between tamed creatures performing tricks, acrobatics, live bands, jesters, live battles between skilled swordsman, magicians, sexy dance routines, and clerics performing rites of luck on all guests attending. (Clearly timed that way to stop the steady flow of people, should Lady Luck turn her back that hour)
If the group is having enough fun just exploring - let them. Otherwise, if they make enough money or make enough of a ruckus, then a stranger will approach them with a plan too good to pass up. This female purple-skinned tiefling (Marzas Alrozath) has a scar over one eye and is missing a few teeth, but is otherwise well kept and clean. Her hair is shaved in zigzag patterns on both sides and a ponytail at the back. She wears padded black leather, with various pockets sewn in. Her belt has too many coin purses. She takes you to the Pepper Parlour and pays for your meals “There is no better place to talk of such matters than in a room full of raucous pigs.” She explains that she is interested in working with you to break into The Clover’s vault. There is more money there than God knows what to do with. It is heavily guarded with too many traps. She heard from a good source that there is, however, a way around the majority of these hazards - a central access point to the subterranean cellars connecting all of Everhaven together. She knows it's somewhere in the middle of town, but hasn’t been able to find where yet. She asks you to seek it out, as she cannot do it herself as they have her records on file (she became a member years ago, and they have her spit to track her movement inside the casino. If the party is already members they have disadvantage on any stealth checks made while in the Clover. The secret entrance is underneath the Smiling Lady Statue through the mechanic's entrance)Alternatively, you can try and find someone in The Clover who has little loyalty to the company, or someone who knows the space well can help you? Perhaps a key, or a map, or intel on what awaits you? (Fenian the guide, Balor the server at The Clover's Bar, or Two-Teeth at the Houndgrave) Map to the Clover's Staff Area (accessible through the far back of the casino) (one with traps, one without) TRAPS: If any traps go off, make an additional stealth check for alerting the guards (except for Trap 4)
Trip wire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or DEX 12 save to avoid stumbling.
Door trap - DEX 12 save. A heavy iron block falls on your head. Take 1 D6 damage you are Stunned for 1 minute, with disadvantage on any saving throws for 10 minutes.
Door trap - DEX 12 save. A heavy iron block falls on your head. Take 1 D6 damage and you are Stunned for 1 minute, with disadvantage on any saving throws for 10 minutes.
Huge metal locked door to the vault - PER 12 check to notice the trap. If door isn’t unlocked the right way, then a loud siren goes off and you are Deaf for 1 minute (alerts the guard immediately).
Trip wire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or Con 15 save or be be blinded for 1 minute
The floor in this room is jiggly. Movement across the room sends nearby creatures bouncing into the air. A successful Intelligence (Investigation) or Intelligence (Arcana) check (DC 15) will grant knowledge of how the jelly floor acts. A Wisdom (Perception) check (DC 15) is required to notice the jelly floor. The walls themselves are slightly sticky, which allows you to walk across.The floor feels like hard stone when lightly touched touch, but while walking across the floor or if hit, it really jiggles. A creature, and any creature who is within 5 feet of them, who is walking across the floor is tossed 10 feet into the air, hits the ceiling and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
If you don’t approach the door from the walls or ceiling (aka you open it from the floor), sleep gas is emitted into the hallway. (DC 15 Wisdom saving throw)
Motion sensor - If the door wasn’t opened correctly, then this automatically goes off. Dex save or else darts shoot from the corners, take 2D6 damage.
Tripwire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or 12 DEX save to avoid stumbling.
Tripwire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or spikes fly out from the group. Take 1 D10 piercing damage
Pressure plates - PER 12 to notice the plate, or else the pressure plates release sticky slime to the ground which acts as difficult terrain and sticks to your feet for 1 minute after leaving the terrain.
Holding Cells: 1 drunkard who can’t be woken up, 1 thief who claims he is really good at picking locks and sleight of hand.
Security: A room full of 15 divination sorcerers sitting in a circle. They have their eyes closed and are surveying the casino. There are also 5 fully armed security guards at the walls watching the sorcerers for any sign of a problem.
Technician room: A room full of gears, screws, hammers, nails, clamps, and moving parts. Smells like oil.
Cold storage: rows and rows of raw food.
Changing rooms: 4 rooms filled with ridiculous clothing, some gold, and food. 2 rooms are locked, with 1 having someone changing who screams when you come in, the other has a key in their costume.
Cleaning closet: full of brooms, cleaning agents, and towels. Has a map of The Clover (no traps).
Break room: Food, snacks, and some booze. Has a skeleton key in one of the lockers.
Offices: Keys, maps (no traps), chest (Sleight of hand 20) with instructions about traps and how to disarm them
Vault: 20,000 gold worth of coin, jewelry, and gems. Also a few magical weapons and armor that must be inspected by an agent to determine their worth (as I wrote this as a 1-shot)
CASINO GAMES (all Dealers / Game Masters have a DC 13 against sleight of hand checks) Lucky 7s - Roll 2D6. Players bet either over or under 7. Players can either double down or quit - pot then doubles until either the players cash out, they choose wrong, or a 7 is rolled. Once a 7 is rolled, the house wins. Devil's Dice - Roll 3D6. Players pick a # between 1-6. If 0 of the dice match this number, the house wins. If 1 of the dice match, they win back their bet. If 2 match, they double their bet. If 3 match, they triple their bet. High or Lower - Roll 2D6. Dealer shows 1 dice to player, and the player has to guess whether their sum is higher or lower than the Dealer's dice. Can double down, and then roles swap for who shows their dice first. I tried making a few games that weren't just dice games, but also offered some role play elements. Karaoke - Roll performance against the crowd's reaction. Roll 1D20 against the player's Performance (Player's have advantage if they perform a duet). Earn 1 gold for the difference between these rolls (ie: Player's rolled a 18 performance, DM rolled a 12. Players earn 6 gold) Dunk the Drunk / Archery - Roll for a ranged attack. 10-15 earns back their bet. 15-20 earns double the bet. 20+ earns double the bet plus a special item (up to DMs discretion) Hammer Strike - Simple enough - DC 15 Athletics wins double the bet. *edit - Forgot to add in the casino games like I promised - whoops!
Shy Marry (Female Half-Elf): A young shy girl, barely out of her teens. She seems nervous and inexperienced, and constantly embarrassed, but will not stop the “experience”. Those who choose to simply snuggle with her gain an inspiration.
Aracnophobia (Male Drow) When the customer is not watching, spiders will slowly begin to enter the room. After their attention is sufficiently distracted, a male drow will appear from nowhere and begin to service the customer. Customers gain an immunity to fear for 24 hours.
Midnight (Black Male Dragonborn) A pitch-black dragonborn enters the room, a body like Adonis and built like obsidian; he is tailored with a gold neckless and gold wrist bands. The shadows move around his body, and slowly, the lights go out and he engages with the customer. For the next 24 hours, shadows will stick close to the customer, giving them advantage on stealth checks.
Margrett (Female Orge): A large, fat woman enters the room. She’s large enough that she must squeeze through the door frame. She’s a powerhouse, with notably large teeth and a slight lisp.
The Musician (Male Elf) A well-dressed bard enters the room, he does not undress, he does not address the customer. He simply takes out his violin case and starts to play a song. As he plays, the Customer’s body begins to throw in ecstasy, the song enveloping them. The customer gains the one-time use of a bardic inspiration die (1d6).
Mirror-Mirror (Doppleganger): As the customer is looking around, they realize a large mirror which wasn’t there before. The mirror stands as tall as the customer, and when gazed in, a duplicate of themselves appears from the mirror and begins to seduce them.
Story-Time (Female Hag): A little old lady enters the room, taking a seat near the customer’s bed. She pulls out a small pair of spectacles, and a large book. The book transports the reader into a rather erotic story, narrated by the older lady. The story emboldens the customer, giving them advantage on intimidation checks for 24 hours.
Lost-Breath (Female Mermaid): The room quickly fills with water. As the Customer panics, and begins to drown, a mermaid appears and begins breathing air into their lungs. The mermaid is dressed in gold and silver, with strands of sea weed stuck in their hair. For 24 hours, the customer gains the ability of water- breathing.
The Smiling Cat (Female Tabaxi): A large brawny tabaxi with died fur appear from nowhere. She pounces and plays with the customer, disappearing and reappearing, before embracing the tired customer. Once the deed is done, she disappears with a smile. The Customer gains the one-time use of the spell “Misty Step”.
Ba’Dumn the Belly Dancer (Sand Yellow Male Dragonborn): Ba’Dumn is most definitely one of the best belly- dancers in the material plane. Ironically, he is also 90% belly. Despite this giant’s size, he guarantees his customer a night unlike any other.
Hells Bells (Female Incubus): An angelic figure enters the room, beautiful and prestige. She begins with a simple kiss, which burns the customer’s lips. Slowly, the feathers on her back start to fly around the room revealing her true form, that of a demon. The customer gains resistance to Radiant for 24 hours.
Maggs the Cook (Female Half-orc): A large, voluptuous half-orc cheerily enters the room dressed in full cookware. She brings in several plates and trays of food and asks for Customer to sit and eat. The customer does not get less hungry, but does still grow more full. Once the customer declares they’re too full or wish to continue to lovemaking, Maggs will continue to feed them as they make love in bed. The customer finds that they are significantly stuffed after the event, and do not need to eat for a week.
The Witch Doctor (Male Halfling) A small, Halfling dressed in foreign clothing pops into the room. The mask he wears is twice as large as it needs to be. He pulls out a small doll, which surprisingly matches the customer in appearance, and begins to caress it, with all the feelings going into the Customer.
Pearl Buskont, a halfling woman given to petty theft, and eventually becomes a small ring leader of a group of highly organized thieves. Her shock of pink hair and many piercings gives her a saucier outward appearance than her demeanor actually reveals.
Lacey shields, a orgallion drag queen, known for her dancing and outrageous curves. Normally doesn’t take night time companions, but times are tough in the off season. She usually only agrees to suitors that charm her well, but occasionally will just go for the coin.
Vanessa the Drunkard (Female Elf): A tall, gallow elf swaggers into the room, carrying various bottles and drinks in a large burlap sack. She offers the customer drinks, but only if they confirm that they are okay with lovemaking afterwords. She will offer stranger and stranger drinks, until the customer can barely stand, however she seems unaffected by her liquors. The customer finds that they are significantly sated after the event, and do not need to drink for a week.
The Automata (Unspecified Warforged) A large, robotic figure enters the room. They say “Greeting, I am programed for your pleasure. Please select a setting and assume the position,” before waiting for the customer to select a setting. The settings are “Easy”, “Medium”, “Hard”, “Maximum Overdrive”, and “Turbo.” On selecting the “Easy” or “Medium” setting, the character regains all spent hit dice. On selecting the “Hard” difficulty, the customer gains an inspiration point. On selecting “Maximum overdrive”, the user’s pain tolerance is numbed, allowing for advantage to all concentration rolls for the next 24 hours. On selecting “Turbo”, the user gains all rewards plus a point of exhaustion.
Candle-Light (Red Female Dragonborn): The candlelight in the room flairs as a red dragonborn enters, covered in melting candles. She drips hot wax on the customer, making sure to heat their bodies as well as their hearts. The customer gains resistance to fire damage for the next 24 hours.
The Voyeur (Unspecified Eldritch Abomination): A character, who is exactly as the customer desires, enters the room. They introduce themselves as “Sam” before getting to work. As Sam and the Customer do their merry lovemaking, the customer cannot help but feel that they are being watched. Should they succeed a DC 10 perception check, they will notice that eyes periodically appear on the wall, watching them. For the next 24 hours, the character gains advantage on perception checks.
BEAUTY (Female Beholder) The bed in the room rumbles slightly, before flipping over, knocking the customer off if they were laying there. A strangely beautiful beholder appears from beneath the bed, either mocking the customer for their lack of paranoia or congratulating them on expecting her arrival. She sings songs and tells stories as she uses her eyes stalks, as well as anything else at her disposal, to help please the customer. The Customer gains the use of the “Alert” feat for 24 hours.
The Mind Electric (Unspecified Storm Elemental): As the customer rests, the air becomes charged. Eventually spark of electricity will split across the room. Eventually, one of the sparks will hit the customer, electrifying them. The experience is painful, yet at the same time pleasuring. A being made of pure energy then reveals itself, before continuing the process. The customer gains resistance to thunder and lightning damage for 24 hours.
The Genie (Female Genie): A knock on the door results in the customer finding a lamp laying on the ground. When rubbed, the room is filled with a smoke and a giant female genie appears. She will take the form of whatever the customer prefers, and will change and shift during the lovemaking.
RockBreaker (Male Dwarf): A dwarf with braided hair, runic tattoos, and rock-hard abbs. He sings soft songs under his breath, as his runic tattoos glow with ancient magics. The customer feels protected and gains one use of the “shield” spell.
The Wizard (Male Human): An ancient male human enters the room, dressed in the most magical robes. He is unhappy and sets up a small table, to which he asks the customer to lay on. Once the customer lays on the board, the wizard massages them, molding their flesh and bones like clay, twisting them into strange, but blissful shapes. The customer gains advantage on acrobatic checks for the next 24 hours.
Shroom (Female Gnome): A small gnome wearing a giant mushroom cap on her head enters the room. She offers the customer a few strange, looking mushrooms. Should they accept, they are set into a trance and the two commence in lovemaking. For the next 24 hours, the customer is immune to the poison effect, though can still take poison damage.
The Heaven’s Harem (Female Aasamar): A group of seven young women dressed in exotic clothes enters the room. Music plays as they dance around the client. After a passionate display, the dance becomes a bit more intimate.
The Doctor: (Female Human): The Doctor is dressed in plague doctor’s outfit. She invites the customer to lie on the bed and close their eyes. Should they not do so, she will cast suggestion on them (DC 17). She will then light incense, and plunge a dagger into the customer’s chest. She will then remove all their organs, clean them, repair them, and replace them into the customer’s body. The customer can feel and see all of this, but cannot move. The customer is cured of all diseases, all physical ailments, and regains all hit dice, but has an autopsy scar across their chest.
Centurion (Male Centaur): A centaur dressed in ancient roman armor enters the room. While it is difficult for him to maneuver, he is quite dexterous and is willing to let the customer ride him. Or vise-versa. ???
1001 Snakes (Male Yuanti Pureblood): The room floods with snakes. The snake begin to slither around the customer’s body and bite them. As the customer is beginning to feel overwhelm them, a figure swims through and embraces the customer. The two make love in the pool of snake. After the customer passes out they find themselves on the bed, the room wrecked. The customer gains resistance to poison for 24 hours.
It’s all right... (Male Half-orc): An orc, face covered in a bag, and body covered with rags and viscera enter the room. Despite his visage, the customer is not frightened of him and considers the situation normal. The orc is armed and slowly approaches the character; he puts the knife to the customer’s throat and asks “any last words?” Regardless of what the customer said, the orc goes ‘Shhh, it’s alright. Nothing will hurt you now,” as he begins to embrace and pet the customer. For the next 24 hours, the customer is immune to the fear effect.
Beattie the Bearded (Female Dwarf): A female dwarf with impossibly long hair enters the room. She insists that the customer help her braid it before they get going (DC 20 Slight of hand check). Failure results in the Customer getting caught in the dwarf’s hair, before the two make love and the customer is strangled in unconsciousness. Success results in a happy, and satisfied dwarf, who gives an improved performance. The customer gains an inspiration point.
TEETH TEETH TEETH (Unspecified Eldritch Abomination) At first, the room seems empty. However, after a while, the customer will notice a number of small eyes staring at them from the walls. Eventually, small mouths, filled with teeth begin to show up, slowly revealing more and larger mouths. Tongues lash at the customer, caressing them in strange and erotic ways. After such an experience, the customer becomes resistance to psychic damage for 24 hours.
The Hoard (Male Orcs): The Hoard is a group of 10 orcs, dressed in fancy dresses and effeminate outfits. They scream complements at the customer before engaging them. It’s a long night, but those who see it through get one free use of the “Relentless” orc skill.
StoneMaker (Female medusa): A knock at the door is met with a small package. A blindfold is presented, with the phrase “Put this on. Whatever you do, do not take it off.” As soon as it’s put on, the door opens, and a figure enters the room. Several kisses are felt along the customer’s body before extending into full passion. Should they take off the mask, they become petrified (DC 14 CON) as they find a medusa with stone eyes making love with them. Customers who follow the request gain blind sight for 24 hours.
A Well Dressed Individual (Unspecified Mimic): A knock at the door is met with a set of fine clothes, fitted exactly to the customer’s size and taste. A note on the clothes requests that the customer puts them on before the night continues. The clothes are silk like in texture, and when worn are revealed to be a sentient, and lusty, mimic.
Lady Luck (Female Elf): A busty, plump elf enters the room dressed in the most ludicrous casino based outfit they’ve ever seen. She offers to play the customer in a game of strip poker, domination dice, and other erotic-themed games. The customer gains a single-use luck point, this does not stack with the Lucky feat.
Riddles (Female Sphinx): A tall, slender sphinx enters the room and traps the customer in a precarious way. Though the customer is safe, the sphinx does not let on to it and threatens them, forcing them to answer sensual riddles and questions. Should the customer play along, they will gain advantage on Investigation checks for the next 24 hours.
Cueball (Male Human): A tall, thin man, dressed as a dandy, enters the room. He is missing his head, and instead a mirrored sphere floated above his neck.
The Dryad (Female Dryad): A beautiful woman, carved of wood, waltzes into the room. Flowers seem to grow around her, as vines begin to wrap around the customer. The customer feels at one with nature, and has advantage on nature checks for the next 24 hours.
The Last Laugh (Male Satyr) A man dressed in a Clown costume ???
The Mad Man (Male Human): A man, dressed in chains, a mask, and a mental patient coat is wheeled into the room. Should the customer unlock the chains binding him, he will break from his remaining bindings and savagely embrace the customer. The customer gains a long-term madness and inspiration.
42 The Stripper (Female Elf skeleton): An elf, dressed in heavyset clothing enters the room. She dances on a pole with shockingly large amount of agility. For each gold piece tossed at her, she dances more aggressively and takes off a piece of clothing, after 100gp is thrown at her, she reveals herself to be a skeleton, before bursting into a strange mist, laughing gleefully. If 100gp is thrown at her, the customer gets one time use of the spell “Invisibility.”
Obsession (Female Tiefling) (Negative): The customer gains disadvantage on all intelligence checks and intelligence savings throws for the next 24 hours.
Moss (Male Goliath): Moss is a large, muscular goliath who has a thick layer of moss, plants, and other fungi growing on his back and head. He is slow, but solid, and is typically quiet unless spoken to. At the end of the night, he leaves the customer with a small handful of plants and berries, which act as berries from the goodberry spell.
Furball (Female Tabaxi): A dark-furred tabaxi, dressed in loose clothes, a cone hat, and an overly large belt enters the room. She is keen to undress, though asks that the client doesn’t take off her belt. Her belt will always be taught and her weight will shift if the belt is adjusted. If the client tricks her and takes off her belt (DC 20 sleight of hand), she will inflate like a balloon and float up to the ceiling. ???
Dream-Catcher (Female Gith) A dreamcatcher appears on the wall, and a note appears from under the door. The customer is told to go to sleep, and that when they wake up they’ll be fully rested. When they sleep, they find the “Girl of their dreams” waiting for them, and a long, erotic fore into a strange wonderland. The dream is so restful that the Customer does not need to sleep for one week, but must still do light activity in order to benefit from a long rest.
Deal-Breaker (Male Devil) A plain male accountant enters the room and informs that the customer needs to fill out several pieces of paperwork before they can ‘use the brothel’s services’. Several papers are shoved at the character, several making no sense, but the accountant insisting that they need to be filled out. After filling out the paperwork, or giving up, the devil reveals his true form and engages the customer. Should the customer help with the paperwork beforehand, the customer will gain advantage on all history savings throws for the next 24 hours. Likewise, if the customer is interested, the Deal-Breaker will offer to be the customer’s patron (The Fiend) if they wish to take a level in warlock.
The Fairy Godmother (Female Fay) A strange, giant woman appears next to the customer. She is animalistic in appearance, dressed in a robe of flowers, furs, and other oddities. The customer never sees her enter the room, and her nature is fairly strange and alien. She is very kind however, and seems to genuinely care for the customer. For the next 24 hours, the customer will find their life just a bit easier, and survival checks will be made at advantage. Likewise, if the customer is interested, the Fairy Godmother will offer to be the customer’s patron (The Archfey) if they wish to take a level in warlock.
The Cultist (Male Eldritch abomination): A man dressed in violet wearing a mask enters the room. He waxes poetically about a play he was once in and encourages the customer to join him in some play acting. The customer soon learns that the play was very erotic. The customer gains advantage on performance checks for the next 24 hours. Likewise, if the customer is interested, the Cultist will offer to be the customer’s patron (The Great Old One) if they wish to take a level in warlock.
The Litch (Female Litch): A tall, skeletal figure, dressed in royal garb, appears from a mist on the floor of the room. She opens a spell book before casting several spells, which careen through the customer’s body in a strange, but delightful manner. For the next 24 hours, the customer gains advantage on Arcana checks. Likewise, if the customer is interested, the Cultist will offer to be the customer’s patron (The Undying) if they wish to take a level in warlock.
Dragonslayer (Female Copper Dragon): A copper dragon breaks through the front door and charges at the customer. After chasing the customer around for a while, she grins at the, utters a small seductive growl, and then take a more ‘compromised’ pose. The customer gains a one-use version of the spell “Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.”
Good-Mother (Female Lizardborn) ???
Copycat (Male Kenku) ???
Kiss with Death (Male Wraith): A figure, dressed in black enters the room from the floor. He bends forth, and kisses the customer, sucking the soul from their body. After toying with it for a bit, he replaces it back it the body. For the next 24 hours, the character gains disadvantage on saving throws and death saving throws. (Negative)
Guardian Angel (Male Aasamar): A glowing figure appears in the room, clad in fine silks and textiles; he fiercely shouts “Fear not.” He is a passionate lover. For the next 24 horus, the character gains advantage on saving throws and death savings throws.
The Merchant (Female Human) ???
The Cruel Merchant (Female Human): This woman is similar to the merchant, except she is covered in blood and has frightful eyes. She asks for blood, and for every 1hp given to her, she will have intercourse for 1 minute. For every 10% of hp given to the Cruel Merchant, the customer gains a lingering injury. No more than one lingering injury can be gained during any “donation” period.
The Body Builder (Female Bugbear): A large, buff bug bear enters the room dressed in a gym outfit. She is quite vigorous, and occasionally forces the customer into more athletic positions in order to better their stamina. For the next 24 hours, the customer gains advantage on athletic checks.
Mister Nobody (Male Human Ghost): A vaporous version of a man, dressed in fine clothing, with a bottle of whiskey and a noose around their neck, glides in through one of the side walls. He glides through the customer and possesses them, causing their body to ache in pain and pleasure. ???
The Beast (Female Human Werewolf): The Customer gains advantage on animal handling for the next 24 hours.
Poor little one (Female Halfling): An injured Halfling enters the room, begging for help. Hidden in the wall is a medicine kit, filled with various vials, balms, and bandages. Should the customer help, the Halfling will thank them with whatever means she can. Playing along nets the ‘hero’ with advantage on medicine checks.
Fallen (Female Angel): An angelic form bursts in from the ceiling. She is commanding, and begs that the customer reconsider their life of sin. That being said, they are quite passionate, and will embrace the customer as they critique them. The customer gains advantage on religion checks for the next 24 hours. Likewise, if the customer is interested, the fallen will offer to be the customer’s patron (Divine) if they wish to take a level in warlock.
The Third Eye (Male Half-Elf): A strange monk enters the room. While he embraces the customer, he also pokes them in the ki points. This results in both a physically and spiritually enlightening experience. For the next 24 hours, the customer gains advantage on Insight checks.
Vintage (Male Human Vampire) A tall, slender male enters the room. He offers the customer a drink of wine before getting down to business. He seems to be into biting, and the blood loss makes the customer’s head feel lighter than normal. For the next 24 hours, the customer gains disadvantage on Con checks and Con Saving throws. (Negative)
Marionette (Female Gnome): A knock occurs at the door, and behind it is a small marionette puppet with a note pinned to it. The note says “Childish wonder is a marvelous thing. Play with me.” As soon as the customer begins messing with it in any way, several pieces of red string begin to entangle the customer, lifting them up to a starlit landscape and an immense giant who services them. (Note: The puppet is cursed to force anyone touching it to auto-fail saving throws. A small, plain, illusionist services the customer as their mind is elsewhere.) ???
A Silly Joke (Female Nilbog-Goblin) A spry, pretty goblin appears from no were, wearing a strange pink and purple peasant’s outfit. They tease and taunt the customer, only letting them get what they want if they work for it. The next 20 rolled by the player is rerolled and the new result chosen. (Negative)
Red-Strings and Butterflies (Male Minotaur): Butterflies begin to flutter around the room. From the walls appears a meek and well-groomed Minotaur, red stringed tied on his hair, horns, and elsewhere. He fiddles with strings and ties bows on the customer as he romances them. ???
Trash (Female Trogladite): The room fills with a foul stench. From the floor trash and refuse begins to flow, and from the swampy substance a figure appears. A fit and tawny troglodyte appears, ready to pleasure the customer in any way possible.
The Word (Male Aarakocra) A peacock of an Aarakocra enters the room. He paints various incantations and phrases on the customer. These words fill the customer with power! For the next 24 hours, the character gains advantage on persuasion checks.
The Bouncing Brothers (Male Hobgoblins) A pair of fit, mustached hobgoblins enter the room, both dressed in a leotard. The pair perform various feats of agility before performing more intimate feats with the customer.
Bull-Slayer (Female Leprechaun) A small, pretty lepricaun enters the room. She looks at the customer and scoffs. She will typically mutter something akin to “Let’s hope you last longer than the last one,” before going at the customer relentlessly. The customer’s muscle ache terribly afferwords, and for the next 24 hours, the customer gains disadvantage on dexterity checks and dexterity saving throws. (Negative)
The Cat Lord’s Lover (Male Tabaxi): A small, meek tabaxi enters the room wearing nothing but a collar and a pair of bracelets. He will do as he is instructed, even if it results in his ‘death’. If killed in any manner, he will revive within an hour. Damage sustained to the tabaxi quickly heals at 1hp per minute. He has little understanding of word-play and will take phrases literally. He will not, however, leave the room. If he gets to perform a “unique” act, he will thank the customer and reward them with access to a one-use version of the “Death Ward” spell.
Shell-Game (Male Tortle): For the next 24 hours, the customer gains advantage on Deception Checks.
Blind Man’s Bluff (Unspecified Warforged): A strange looking warforged appears in the corner of the room whenever the customer blinks. Only when they blink, or if they close their eyes, does the creature move. That does not stop it, however, from making advances on the customer whenever possible. The customer gains the one-use version of the “Blink” spell.
Jack Frost (Male winter eladrin elf) Jack may not be his real name, but Jack Frost does fit his moniker. A cheery, pale but rosy cheeked elf enters the room, a cool frost following behind him. If the customer gets cold, they can always cuddle under the covers for warmth. Jack’s warmth stays longer than expected, and the customer gains resistance to cold for the next 24 hours.
Silence and Static (Female Blue Dragonborn): A cartoonish looking dragonborn with a long face dressed in a mime’s outfit enters the room. She begins to perform for the customer, before getting more “intimate” with them. Any action performed by the customer in a pantomime like fashion will occur to the dragonborn, regardless of whether it makes sense. That being said, damage caused in this manner cannot be lethal, and will result in her “playing dead” or disappearing before reappearing- within a few minutes. The customer gains a one-use version of the “Unseen Servant” spell.
Hooligan (Male Halfling) A small, fit but overweight, Halfling runs into the room. He chats with customer about games and cards, and is willing to show the customer a few tricks he knows. He then shows the customer a few more ‘exotic’ tricks. If the customer listens to his advice then the next “1” rolled by the customer is rerolled. This must be used before the Halfling feature.
Pins and Needles (Female Yuan-Ti Half-Blood) A snake-faced woman enters the room, a small silver box in her hand. When she gets close enough to the customer, she will offer to do acupuncture to them. While severely relaxing, the customers muscles grow tired. For the next 24 hours, the customer gains disadvantage on strength checks and strength saving throws. (Negative)
79 Mister Large (Male Duergar) A small dwarf with a large beard enters the room. Well dressed and smoking a pipe which smells of heavy-tobacco and spice, he performs several tricks, blowing smoke rings and other interesting shapes. At the end, he takes a deep breath and breaths forth a dragon, which envelopes the room. When the smoke clear, it is revealed that he has grown significantly in height. The customer gains a one-time use of the enlarge person spell.
King of the Seas (Male Triton): A tall, well-built, red skinned Triton makes his way into the room. He is charming, though a bit bubble headed, and complements the customer whenever he can. He dressed sparsely, but regally. ???
The Hedonist (Male Human): A young, noble looking human enters the room. He is equipped with a bag, and plans to test the limit to find a new thrill. The world to him is quite dull, and he needs this. Roll 3 checks for constitution, dexterity, and charisma (DC 20). For each successful check, the character receives an inspiration point.
High-Octane (Female Quickling) The customer gains a one-use version of the “Haste” spell.
Coin Operated (Unspecified Warforged): A warforged is wheeled into the room and left standing. A coin-slot is seen on its left thigh with the words “Insert Coinage” written in common. Any coin can be inserted into the slot, which will cause the warforged to activate for an hour. Higher value coins produce better results. If gold and platinum (or higher) are used, then the customer gains an inspiration. If a magic coin is used, the warforged goes into overdrive mode and no other coinage is needed for the 8 hours period, the customer also gains an inspiration and the one-time ability to add +10 to a single attack roll.
84 The Marvelous Mr. Toad (Male Bullywag) A well-dressed Bullyway hops into the room. He is charming, energetic, and full of spry young energy. However, he does not, in any way shape or form, act as a normal Bullywag would and seems well versed in more noble pursuits.
The Sugar Daddy (Male Half-orc): A large, burly half-orc squeezes his way into the room. He is coated heavily in hair, jewelry, and musk. Though incredibly large, he is surprisingly gentle and seems to care deeply for the customer. At the end of the night, he thanks the customer for their kindness and says that they made for an excellent courtesan before promptly leaving. For the next week (5 days) the character’s living condition is considered one higher than what they paid for.
The Jinx (Male half-elf): A frazzled looking half-elf enters the room. He seems incredibly nervous, and as he romances the customer things seem to naturally go wrong. He is far more pitiable than romantic, though love-making is one place he doesn’t mess up. For the next week (5 days) the character’s living condition is considered one lower than what they paid for. If they live a wretched lifestyle, they suffer 1 exhaustion per day. (Negative)
Adonis (Male Elf) An impossibly handsome man enters the room. A form that seems to near god-like perfection on every aspect, one cannot help but feel inadequate when confronted by his gentle voice. For the next 24 hours, the customer gains disadvantage on Charisma checks and charisma saving throws. (Negative)
Wild Thing (Female Tiefling): A young, wild-eyed and wild-haired tiefling comes into the room. She is keen to get started in the love-making, though she is incredibly unstable. Roll on the wild magic table (104), wand of wonder, or a custom wild magic table, with both Wild Thing and the Customer being affected as targets or casting subjects.
89 Who am I? (Unspecified Doll Golem): A small, hand- crafted golem enters the room. They are featureless, though are dressed in the clothing of the customer’s preferred sex. The creature is fully sapient, and will pantomime out suggestions of what to do. ???
A Man’s Heart (Male Yuan-ti Abomination): A humanoid, snake-like creature enters the room and offers the customer a strange tonic. Should the customer drink it, their body will be paralyzed by a strange poison and the Yuan-ti will then consume the customer. The situation is tight, warm, but pleasant. For the next 24 hours, the customer gains resistance to acid damage. At the end of the session the Yuan-ti will regurgitate them. Should the customer not drink the poison, or if the customer is immune to poison, the Yuan-ti will simply sleep with them.
The Blackmailer’s Delight (Female Half-Orc): A beautiful individual enters the room and offers the player a drink, saying that they wish to “know them better”. They will not continue until the customer consumes the strange wine. Within 1d4 days, the customer will receive a letter. This letter will, in detail claim to divulge a rather significant event unless a notable sum is paid. This blackmail can be true or false, but it holds substantial proof either way. Likewise, the sum, while not necessarily monetary, must be significant to the customer.(Negative)
Hells Angel: (Female assimar) with blond hair, blue eyes and an angelic face. She always wears a light blue dress. Her specialty is being able to always perfectly play the damsel in distress for her customers. After the damsel in distress act, it will turn into a deadly game of cat and mouse, with Hell’s Angel hiding her murder attempts behind the damsel in distress act from earlier. If you’re one of the lucky ones who survive her services, you’ll receive a +1 dagger and a note that says “I’ll see you again” in the mail a week later.
Saveera of the Nine Veils (Female Kobold): Her room is patterned in a style reminiscent of the harems of Al-Qadim, luxurious pillows are position around a central stage. From behind the curtains at the back of the stage a kobold appears, dressed in the finest silk, covering just enough to be consider barely decent, but showing enough to entice. Music starts up from seemingly nowhere, and Saveera begins her dance. At the end of the dance she offers the customer the chance to "dance" with her. Those who befriend her learn her real name to be Kip-Kig, and that she initially only worked at the brothel because it was easy money, but soon fell in love with the job and slowly developed her current persona.
Hena the Yuan Ti. Her poison is whispered to give those bitten a light buzz and send them into dizzy spells; every touch feels magnified. Her coiling tail tightens about her victims slowly as the night goes on...
Mystereon (Myst), a doppelganger who, for 50 gp, will be any race, sex or age the client wants. For 500 gp, will use a "Potion of Detect Thoughts" (just a bottle of ale, she banks on the fact that not many people know doppelgangers can cast detect thoughts at Will) to become any specific person or thing the client wants, perfectly mimicking whatever they desire, no matter how mundane or perverse.
Vendara, a medusa who considers herself an accomplished poet. For 50gp clients go into her room blind-folded, where Vendara sits them on cushioned divan and feeds them grapes while whispering about how badly she wants to look them in the eye as her snakes caress their skin. Those who give in to temptation are sold off as ornamental statues to unscrupulous traders.
Two-lip is a thri-kreen courtesan who insists they are a human, just like you. Imagine a giant praying mantis with smudged lipstick, off-color blush, and a tenuous grasp on non pheromonic communication.
The Odalisque Resplendent in Gossamer Veils, This delicate fae draped in veils of silk and spiderweb moves about the room, cleaning and adjusting, dusting and coming so close. Something about her presence enflames desire but inhibits movement; she cannot be approached. She doesn’t touch her guests but rumor has it some of her clients have grown old returning to her again and again hoping for the barest brush of her silks against their flesh.
A young succubus exiled from the underworld (or whatever is DnD's version of hell) for such kinks as handholding or snuggling. She's incredibly shy and lovable. Her mere presence seems to have a calming effect on everyone around. There have been multiple cases of clients falling asleep with her before getting to the saucy stuff and not regretting the money spent. Strongly recommended for traumatized adventurers and chaotic neutral rogues who just need a hug.
A warforged named Fisto, who simply states “you will now assume the position.” Players have a hard time sitting down for 1d4-1 days.
Mad Symphony (Male Succubus): A figure, dressed as a conductor, enters the room. He begins to act as if he is conducting an orchestra. At first nothing happen, then the music begins to play and energy fills the air. When a crescendo is hit, he strikes. The customer gains resistance Necrotic for 24 hours.
Pain and Misery: (Female Gnolls): Pain and Misery come equipped to ensure that the night is “fun”, though whether the customer enjoys it all depends on their skill. Players may make a DC 10 Performance or Athletic check or a DC 15 constitution saving throw. The character wakes up with half their HP; however they gain an inspiration point for staying the night.
Edit 1: Thanks to u/snakebite262 for being an absolute chad and providing 91% of the list... will be back to update soon but it’s midnight rn... so ima sleep Edit 2: I HAVE RETURNED! And I am going to proof read this list to check whether I have copied and pasted the same thing twice... also I have no idea what to do to get the list on the website so ima ask about that on discord
(First) (Previous) (Next) (Patreon) (This is a double-release, sort of - it's the previous chapter from Janaxia's, then Semari's PoVs. It was a bit of a writing exercise, but let me know what you think!) Janaxia took a slow, steady breath, focusing her magical powers to pull her outfit into position, making sure everything was in order. Would it really be so hard for Stathis to pay her attention (and compliments) for once? It had been quite some effort to acquire, to say nothing of ensuring it fit correctly, requiring either magical powers or several servants to properly don. Instead, Stathis was nothing but critical, saying that she looked like a cult leader! As if any cult leader would dress with such style and verve – most were grubby little degenerates, grubbing around for anyone desperate enough to believe their lies, without any interest in the finer things in life beyond a petty, vulgar venality. And their ‘style’ rarely extended further than drab robes. Even the guide here would stand out amongst such a rabble, her robe of fine cotton, belted with an elegantly chic sash of green and silver (that also served to highlight an attractively trim waist), far beyond the reach of any petty cult! Although at least Stathis had put some effort in, managing some amount of dash and swagger in a well-cut suit, not entirely unsuitable for the occasion, her blonde hair tied up into a crown braid. The trousers could stand to be a touch tighter around her posterior and thighs though, maybe some golden piping down the side. Semari was as scruffy as ever though, hair looking as though she had hacked it short with a knife, her clothing, well, sturdy was the most polite term that could be applied, an utterly disappointing lack of style. A shame really – there was decided potential there, but all gone to waste. From the look on Stathis’ face, she hadn’t been expecting to see such finely-rendered carvings, imitation of course, but depicting a number of famous romantic scenes from history and legend, gods and heroes enjoying their revels. Even Semari showed some interest, looking at them intently as they passed. Likely more interested in their prurient appeal than the true history, but it was a start. The place had been refurbished somewhat since she had last visited, the grand doors (previously plain, banded wood, more reminiscent of a fortress than a place of pleasure) having been replaced. The detail was exquisite, a copy of the Rapture of the Golden Band rendered in full detail, even including the officially banned 8th panel. Then some mechanism pulled the doors open, a scent of agarwood drifting past, a flamboyant display of wealth. The décor inside was certainly gaudier than Janaxia could truly consider tasteful, but the Khem’s business must be thriving, to support such a place. And Lady Kamarni was present, showing the breadth of their appeal. Although quite why she seemed to want to associate with Semari was a baffling mystery – it was entirely possible to have someone save one’s life and not fawn over them! Thoughts of the mysterious angel from that tiresome affair with Karilimanath’s hoard flashed through her mind, before she dismissed them – the being hadn’t been seen since, and her companions refused to talk about it. In other times, it might have been worthwhile greeting the woman, but there were other affairs to deal with, she her face seemed drawn and taut, likely a sign of poor luck at the tables. Anef and Asai were both as well-dressed as ever, even managing to make their altered arms appear stylish, having the confidence to show them off rather than try and hide them. She introduced herself, mercifully managing to find the words without having to reveal her own ailment. She sat down, weaving a swift use of her magical power to tug her outfit into a position flattering when reclining, making sure she was presented to her best advantage. And of course, Stathis, with all the grace one would expect of the nouveau riche, almost ruined the moment entirely, asking if they were running a murder cult. Did she have to be so crass? She was talented with a blade, to be sure, and her mother and sister were both impressive figures themselves, but Stathis did seem a touch lacking compared to such luminaries. And of course, there was the mystery of who her father was – Carissia was the product of an ancient and noble bloodline from her patriarch, but rumour had dogged the youngest Iristari for years. Not that Janaxia held truck with such gossip, of course, but it was decidedly mysterious, even if likely banal. And now Stathis was threatening to sic Carissia on the place, as Janaxia accepted the drink she was offered. Aged Gauthaut, brewed from rare slimes, themselves fed only the finest grapes, refined and processed over decades, the drink smooth on her palette. She smiled at Anef, as Asai and Stathis came to an agreement, wondering if they would stay long enough to renew their acquaintanceship. Considering the events of the last time they had seen each other, where the pair had gained their unusual markings, they seemed remarkably affable; she had done what she could at the time to explain what she could the events of that night (which had, as far as she could tell, been entirely out of her control), but had feared they might be less accepting. As long as none of the rest of her family wished to use the house, then it should be acceptable to stay. Violence and action suddenly erupted, as everyone drew weapons and starting swinging for each other. Janaxia tried to look appropriately shocked and distraught, portraying what she imagined an innocent young woman caught up in such machinations would look like. And then Stathis quite ruined the effect, hauling her off the couch, quite undoing elements of couture. Could the woman never deal with a situation without resorting to violence? A guard charged at her, club held high, escalating matters rapidly. Janaxia gestured, hitting him square on, and sending him flying downwards, out of sight. He really should learn to read the atmosphere – this was simply theatrics, rather than anything to get excited about! Although the sounds coming from downstairs, where Semari had leapt to, indicated things were rather more serious, with likely some property damage. ‘Stop! She has a hostage!’ Asai shouted. Janaxia found herself yanked backwards, a sword suddenly against her throat, even as she managed to activate her magical powers, an invisible aura of protection snapping into existence around her. ‘Stand your men down, or I’ll cut her throat!’ That Anef was just barely holding back laughter cut almost as deeply as the potential danger to her ensemble, as Stathis’ fumbled around, hand running over her body, overly reminiscent of a drunken noble whose ardour had outpaced their tolerance for alcohol. Although the forcefulness did have a certain appeal, if perhaps better suited for a more private setting. Do please fumble less!Try and show some class, if it isn’t too much trouble? Stathis grumbled something back, lost in the general sounds of chaos. Backing down the stairs was complicated, much like dancing with a far less skilled partner, who didn’t particularly want to cooperate, and could cause considerable harm if things went awry. The sharp edge of the blade was a decided nuisance, as she pressed herself tightly against her erstwhile “captor”. Still, they somehow made it down without Janaxia getting her throat slit, as Stathis tried to solidify her grip, wrapping an arm around Janaxia’s chest, comfortably restraining her. Janaxia focused her magical powers, making sure nothing inappropriate was displayed, as a bronze disc shot past them, clanging on the far wall. While there was a certain frisson in having her vision forcibly restricted and being forcibly unaware of quite what destruction was being wrecked out of sight, it was also decidedly inconvenient, especially if she happened to be struck herself! , Asai slowly advanced, blade at the ready, face serious. ‘You will regret the day you crossed us. There will be a reckoning, and it won’t be to your favour!’ Abandoning herself to Stathis’ power, it was a simple thing to slide her hair loose and make it flick and toss around, hopefully the very image of a young ingenue, being troubled by some rapscallion rogue, forcibly pressing their suit above their station. ‘Oh, please help me, I have been captured by this rough brute of a knight!’ ‘Stay back, or I slit her throat!’ At least try and make an effort, Stathis. The woman sounded as though she were bored! A little emoting wasn’t that hard, especially in these circumstances, and would make the thing much more entertaining. Even if the proclamation did send warm breath tickling Janaxia’s ears, fluttering her hair, and quite distracting her. Stathis continued to move backwards, Janaxia now having a better sense of her movement and steps, feeling her strong musculature and allowing herself to be guided, as they moved back past Semari, surrounded by a circle of downed guards and wrecked furniture. Semari, even worse at dramatics than Stathis, just shrugged and slowly sauntered towards the exit with them, even giving a cheeky wave to Lady Kamarni as they passed. Janaxia tried to catch her eye, but she only seemed to notice Semari. Some people, despite their nobility, really had no taste. Eventually, they were outside the casino chamber, doors clanging shut. As the blade moved away from her throat, she turned to give Stathis a piece of her mind, before strong hands encircled her waist, Stathis simply hoisting her up and throwing Janaxia over her shoulder, as if she were just a sack of food, then running for the exit. It took all Janaxia’s efforts on keeping her outfit from attaining a level of dishabille entirely beyond what was appropriate for such a place, meaning she couldn’t make her opinions on the matter heard, even with her telepathy. While some rough treatment could, on occasion, be entertaining, this was quite beyond the pale! She bounced on Stathis’ shoulder, air getting pushed from her lungs with every stride, an overly firm hand on her derriere keeping her firmly in place, and threatening to tug her clothing into quite indelicate positions. When she was deposited back on the ground, it took her several long moments to collect herself, her thoughts hazy and her backside slightly sore from the tight grip. She settled for simply glaring at Stathis, trying to put the full force of her disapproval into a look. From the lack of response, the woman was entirely insensate to the insult she was responsible for, as she led them away, through a thoroughly disgusting network of alleys and backstreets, until they were safely away.
Redcastle 11.2 (Semari)
The wall was warm underfoot, Semari’s shoes thin enough for her to feel the heat the stone was releasing. Beneath her, Stathis and Janaxia were bickering, Stathis gesturing at Janaxia’s latest clothing. It looked spooky, uncomfortable and a bit evil around the edges, but that was pretty much Janaxia all over, and it wasn’t as though Stathis had to wear it. The door was far too obvious for a real thief’s hideout, the snake’s head knocker a loud sign that something shady, but not too shady, was going on. The door was opened by a robed figure, looking fake-eldritch with a plain robe and a flashy belt led them down a long hallway, full of dramatic lights, and lined with creepy-sexy statues. Semari paused, trying to work out how practical they were, bodies shaped and contorted around and into each other in all sorts of interesting ways. Small slots revealed side chambers, for those that liked an audience, or to make a show. Giant metal doors, showing more people fucking, blocked their way, some magic sliding them open as they approached. Semari nodded to herself in satisfaction. This was what a shady casino operated by dodgy folk should look like – cheap gold paint on the walls, massive chandeliers (that looked sturdy enough to bear her weight) hung from the high ceiling, shallow pits filled with cushions and cavorting entertainers dotting the floor, shady looking guards glaring at them from the walls. The floor was sticky underfoot, cloyingly thick incense not enough to cover the scent of spilt booze, sweat and other fluids. She eyed up the guards, all mean-looking, but a bit too comfortable, more used to poking fat merchants and nobles rather than proper violence. This place looked like it could be fun – no fighting pits, at least not yet, but lots of things to break if she needed a weapon. She waved at Kamarni, enjoying a game of dice. For a noble, she seemed OK, although a bit fluttery. But she knew nice places to eat, and was friendly without being too weird about it. Although she’d been odd recently, suddenly really boring and stiff and cold, like Misutira. The bosses were up above, the usual set-up, somewhere they could see and be seen. Two, twins, both with creepy demon arms, pointy teeth, probably not entirely human. The only surprise was that none of their boys had mirrored the red arms – if you get a thing like that, work it, make it the gang marker or whatever. Seemed a waste, really. But they had their boys well-trained, letting them through without even some token barking or staredown, up into their private bar. Janaxia hugged them both, apparently trusting them enough to get close. Although they didn’t have any obvious weapons (other than claws on those creepy demon arms), both had a few scars, their clothing smart, but practical to move on. The guy was definitely a brawler and a looker, tight trousers and open shirt, easy on the eyes. Might be worth fighting, see if he could move, or if the muscles were just for show. He sat down, showing himself at ease, typical gang boss chilling in his domain. She grinned at him, getting a tight smile in return, as a lackey handed her a shot. She knocked it back – sweet and thick, slightly bitter, probably some fancy noble thing. Tasted good, although she’d rather have a beer. Stathis spoke, sounding irritated and tired. ‘Look, I don’t really care about the gambling. But, Demons. They will destroy everything, destroy the world, all that stuff. So, unless you want to be devoured by howling monsters from the endless chaos outside of existence, it would be helpful if you were to tell me anything murder-cult related that you might have seen. Ritual circles, creepy murders, that sort of thing.’ ‘And what may we expect in return from you, Stathis of the House of Iristari?’ The woman approached Stathis, squaring up against her in an open challenge to see if Stathis would back down. ‘OK, I’ll make you a deal. You tell me what I need to know, and I don’t tell Carissia about this place.’ Semari made a face. Carissia just showed up, stuff happened, and she’d bought that magical demon-goat. Goats! Weird furry horned bastards, always plotting something. As they bickered, Semari took another shot, the taste seeming better this time, looking out over the casino and brothel. Looked pretty classy, in a fun, trashy way – must be fairly well run as quite a lot of the staff weren’t just thugs in suits, the cauliflower ears and broken noses being reserved for the guards. There were some side-rooms equipped for some of the weird stuff nobles got up to, but still no fighting pits, which was a shame. Stathis and Asai were staring each other down, at the point they were either about to fight or fuck. ‘There are certain… considerations we must take into account. I’m sure certain associates of ours will have taken note that a Knight of the Sun paid us a visit, for example.’ ‘OK, so we have a big dramatic fight, you make like you threw us out, then you tell us? I’m sure you know we’re at Janaxia’s place, send a letter or something.’ The man reached behind his chair, pulling out some knives, balanced for quick, nasty cuts, the sort of thing people would survive, but have big, nasty scars. His sister pulled out a sword, clumsily swinging at Stathis, who blocked the attack. ‘Get out!’ The guards below reacted impressively fast, gathering together and making a beeline for the stairs. Semari leapt from the balcony, grabbing hold onto the chandelier, swinging it once to gain momentum before letting go to let herself sail through the air, slamming into the ground in front of a group of guards. Her guess was right, they weren’t used to fighting, as she spun and ducked through them, punching out, knocking them to the ground, stopping them getting past. She broke a chair, using the legs as paired clubs, flicking out and striking vulnerable points, trying not to do anything too permanent. More of them kept coming, goons and thugs spilling out of side rooms, so many they got in each other’s way. Well, that just made her life easier! The brawl continued, as Stathis slowly shuffled past her, sword against Janaxia’s throat, a rather sloppily-caught hostage. Knives were better for that! And most hostages didn’t look like they were enjoying quite so much, but, then again, nobles were weird. Stathis was mostly normal, except for the occasional wings and stuff, and getting all weird when asked about it. It was so unfair that she couldn’t give her wings away, when she clearly didn’t want them! And she still hadn’t taken Semari flying! Semari struck her bracer, lightning streaking through her, vision flicking white for a second. With the burst of strength she jumped forward, landing on the roulette table and hooking the spinning disc with a foot, kicking it up into the air and catching it. The ‘clong!’ it made when she clocked a guard across the face was deeply satisfying, before she spun around and then released it, sending it hurtling just above another cluster of guards, smacking into the wall and distracting them enough for her to charge in. She’d always wanted to try that, but Kethys had always told her “no” before. Stathis at least was less controlling, although worse at hugging. Get a move on! Janaxia’s head-talk thing was weird, but kinda cool. Why couldn’t she learn that? Everyone else could do cool stuff. Still, the amount of damage she’d done was fun to see, loads of guards groaning on the floor, several tables reduced to kindling, the staff picking up stray chips and coins when they thought no-one was looking. She grinned at Lady Kamarni, a stray snatch of music coming to mind, “There was an old wizard of menace, who had quite the extraordinary…” As soon as they were outside, she started running, having experienced this part of a heist before, when they most important thing was to get away, as fast as possible. Even Stathis knew this bit, although the closest thing she had to a treasure was Janaxia, slung over her shoulder and bouncing up and down with every step, costume flapping, magical shimmering the only thing keeping it in place. The expression on her face was curious, the crimson tinge to her cheeks seeming more than entirely justified by being bounced up and down on Stathis’ shoulder.
[MCU] The Secret History of Stan Lee in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Our story begins with Dr. Arnim Zola, henchman to Johann Schmidt, alias the Red Skull, leader of the leader of the Nazi wartime research organization HYDRA1. After pretending to defect and moving to America under Project Paperclip, Zola began to secretly re-form HYDRA within the US Government, resuming not only their attempts at world domination but their twisted occult and scientific research projects as well2. One such project delved into the feasibility of human cloning3, with one potential end-goal being the resurrection of the Red Skull4 or possibly even Adolf Hitler himself5. Zola was cautious, however, unwilling to risk cloning whoever it was he intended to clone until he was sure the technology was ready. Using his newfound US Government contacts, he obtained a genetic sample from General Martin Lieber of the US Army who, coincidentally, happened to have been present at a ceremony in which Capt. Steven Rogers, alias Captain America was to receive the Medal of Valor in 19426 and would later encounter Howard Stark while out-of-uniform in 19467, as well bearing an uncanny resemblance to Earth-12188 comic writer Stan Lee (indeed, his resemblance could be described as not only Uncanny but Amazing, Incredible, and Fantastic as well). It remains to be seen what the eventual outcome of this line of research might have been, but Zola was left with a bunch of cloned Martin Lieber which he had to find some purpose for. Three of these clones escaped in the mid-to-late 1950s, two of whom established false identities and careers that just happened to precisely mirror those of Earth-1218 celebrities Hugh Hefner and Larry King, encountered by Tony Stark, alias Iron Man in 20089 and 201010 respectively. This may seem unlikely, but its actually fairly common for equivalent figures on different Marvel earths to have strikingly similar names, personalities, and careers despite having wildly different backstories and parentage. Tony did not comment on the uncanny resemblance between the two, but considering that both were public figures, it's likely that by this point their resemblance was well-known, and there was nothing he could say about it that hadn't already been said. The third escapee took a different route, taking the name Irving Forbush and joining the NYPD in the 15th precinct. Like the Earth-665 resident whose name he shared11, Forbush turned out to have a tremendous gift for sheer dumb luck (a gift that was no doubt shared to a lesser extent by his clone brothers, explaining their improbable tendency to be in the same place as superheroes), leading to a number of improbably successful arrests that enabled him to rapidly rise to the rank of Captain and honored with a portrait at the station which went unnoticed in 2015 by both Matt Murdoch, alias Daredevil12 and Jessica Jones13, also spearheading a few PSA campaigns which went equally unnoticed by both Luke Cage14 and Daniel Rand, alias Iron Fist15 in the same year. The next year, he would find himself in the opposite situation as he failed to notice Doctor Stephan Strange and Karl Mordo as they collided with the bus he was riding on one of his off days16. The purpose Zola was looking for emerged some time around the turn of the millennium when HYDRA's agents within NASA began to work on what would eventually become Project Distant Star Return, an attempt to send astronauts to rescue the ancient inhuman Alveus (a being worshiped by the secret society that would eventually become HYDRA) from the distant planet Maveth17. Though Project Distant Star Return eventually ended up sending the astronauts through the portal created by the Monolith, HYDRA's researchers at NASA were aware of the Monolith's unreliability and intended to use it only as a last resort if they were unable to reach Maveth by other means. For this reason, a number of experimental spacecraft were developed to explore the possibility of exploiting such little-understood phenomena as the Bifrost Bridge18, Universal Neural Teleportation Network19, magical inter-dimensional portals20, and even attempts to replicate the unique properties of the Tesseract21. The clones of General Martin Lieber were press-ganged into serving as expendable test pilots for these craft, despite being nearly as old by this point as the original General Lieber had been in 1942. One craft found itself stranded in space near the planet Xandar, where its clone pilot was rescued by the Nova Corps and began a new life on that planet as a swinging ladies man (considering one of his fellows' career as Earth-199999's equivalent of Hugh Hefner, it's possible that this personality trait was inherited from the original Lieber). It is here that he is breifly observed flirting with a young Xandarian lady by Rocket Racoon in 201422. A second craft failed to make the jump through whatever spacial phenomenon it had been intended to exploit, and crash-landed on the Earth's moon, just outside the terreformed earth-like region whose Earth-616 equivalent was known as the "Blue Area"23, where its clone pilot was found and nursed back to health by Uatu the Watcher, becoming his companion. Due to injuries sustained during his brief time on the part of the moon outside the Blue Area's artificial atmosphere, the clone must be confined to a modified space suit in order to survive. This clone was present in the Blue Area when Yondu Udonta, Kraglin Obfonteri, Rocket Racoon, and Groot II pass through in the rapidly teleporting escape ship Quadrant24, also in 2014. A third craft experienced a misfire in whatever form of teleportation it had been meant to use, and as all teleportation misfires apparently seem to, it arrived on Sakaar. After receiving extensive cybernetic augmentation in an attempt to blend in with the local culture, the clone pilot got a job as a hairdresser in the employ of Grandmaster En Dwi Gast. It was in this context that Thor encountered him in 201725. A forth craft failed to leave earth at all, and after the HYDRA technicians finally managed to shut off its drive remotely, its clone pilot was returned to captivity. We'll get back to him in a moment. It's unknown exactly how many experimental craft there were, or what the fates of any other test pilots might have been, if there were any. But after so many failures, it became evident to HYDRA's agents at NASA that they were going to have to use the Monolith as a means of transport after all, and the attempts to develop some sort of interstellar drive were abandoned, and in 2001, Project Distant Star Return went forward26. Around this time, there was a mass breakout in which all of the remaining Lieber clones escaped captivity. To evade recapture and avoid arousing suspicion of being clones, they split up and cut all contact with one another, starting new lives in various different parts of the country. Many deliberately took low-profile, blue collar jobs in the belief that this sort of life would put them beneath HYDRA's notice, though the truth is that as men with no histories, they probably couldn't have gotten better jobs even if they wanted to. One clone moved to Milwaukee. His personal history is largely unknown, but it's evident that at some point he discovered the imported Brazilian soft drink Pingo Doce and took a liking to it. In 2008 he happened to drink from a particular bottle that had been accidentally contaminated with the blood of Dr Robert Bruce Banner, alias the Incredible Hulk, who at the time was also attempting to keep a low profile in a blue collar job, working at the Rio de Janeiro plant where the beverage was bottled. The clone was hospitalized with "gamma sickness", catching the attention of the US military and giving them a lead with which to track Banner down27. Having popped up on the US military's radar and by extension HYDRA, this clone was assassinated in hospital by HYDRA agents posing as nurses via an "accidental" morphine overdose. A second clone moved to Puente Antiguo, New Mexico where he got a job driving a winch truck for a local mechanic. When Mjölnir landed outside of town in 2011, he participated in the town-wide attempt to remove the hammer from the ground28. Luckily, when SHIELD arrived in town he got lost in the crowd and as a result, manged to escape their notice. A third clone moved to New York, secure in the belief that the tremendous population of the city would make a chance encounter with HYDRA agents improbable to the point of being nearly impossible. However, in 2012 he was unlucky enough to be approached by NY-1 reporters as a "man on the street" to ask his opinion of the rumors surrounding the recent formation of the Avengers. He attempted to brush them off with a short, dismissive answer, but the brief encounter still made it onto television29, enabling HYDRA agents to track him down and assassinating him, making it look like his death was simply collateral damage in the Battle of New York. A forth clone moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. True to Lieber's lecherous personality, he served as the judge of a local beauty pageant attended by Tony Stark in 201330. Stark was not working with SHIELD at the time, and the pageant only made it onto local channels, so this clone evaded HYDRA's notice. Following his experiences in the failed Distant Star Return launch, the forth test pilot wanted to get as far away from the US Government as he could, and eventually saved enough money for a plane ticket to London. It soon became clear to him that his exposure to the malfunctioning drive had left him more traumatized than he'd realized, and he checked himself into a mental institution. It was here that he encountered Dr. Erik Selvig in 2013 following the latter's mental breakdown31. A sixth clone had a similar idea to the test pilot, but managed to scrape together enough cash to escape all the way to Italy, where (using the same luck that helped Captain Forbush) he made a name for himself as a high-roller at the riviera casinos. While taking a train, he encounters undercover SHIELD Agents Coulson and Simmons32, but manages to evade HYDRA's detection twice over since neither agent is working for them, and the people who soon attack the train are merely taking bribes from a HYDRA front company, rather than being employed by HYDRA itself, and thus neither privy to HYDRA's secrets nor expected to file reports to them. Nevertheless, this encounter rattled him, and he decides to move even farther away, to South Korea, where he drew on his gambling experience to establish a new identity as a croupier at a speakeasy casino in Busan, where in 2016 he narrowly escaped a battle between King T'Challa of Wakanda, alias Black Panther, and arms dealer Ulysses Klaue33. An eighth clone moves to San Fransisco and becomes a bartender, where in 2015 he has a brief encounter with Ignacio, cousin to Scott-Lang (alias Ant-Man)'s friend Luis.34 A ninth clone decides to take a different route, hiding in plain sight within spitting distance of HYDRA's stronghold in Washington DC, in the employ of the US Government no less, as a security guard at the Smithsonian Institute, on the grounds that HYDRA would never think to look there since they'd assume he wouldn't be stupid enough to try it. Though he loses his job in 2014 after failing to prevent the theft of the original Captain America costume by Natalia Alianovna Romanoff, alias the Black Widow35, he survives long enough to see the overwhelming majority of the arm of HYDRA that had been infiltrating the US Government brought down by the combined efforts of Captain America, Black Widow, and Samuel Wilson, alias the Falcon. With news of HYDRA's defeat, many of the clones cease attempting to hide, but they don't abandon the lives they've taken up, as they've become integral to their identities. Captain Forbush, who through his trademark dumb luck had obtained a hat incorrectly identifying him as a member of a group of WWII vets who Captain America had invited to a party at Avengers Tower in 2015, and was unafraid to go with them (though perhaps he should've been, judging by his reaction to trying Asgardian whiskey36. Another clone, who had gotten a job as a FedEx man, willingly delivers a package to "Tony Stank" (sic.) at the New Avengers Facility in New York37 (this New York-dwelling clone was almost certainly the same one who witnessed Peter Parker, alias Spider-Man attempting to stop a presumed car theft from his apartment window earlier that same year38, as that one was called Gary and therefore is unlikely to have been the same person as Irving Forbush). 'Nuff said. Footnotes:
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier - The Official Game
Another scheme of Zola's that came to fruition only on Earth-616, resulting in the villain Hate-Monger, who debuted in the pages of Fantastic 4. While this may seem unlikely to have been Earth-199999 Zola's goal, as the MCU version of HYDRA had specifically divorced itself from Hitler's Nazi Party, since Hitler's desire for global conquest conflicted with Schmidt's own desire for the same, seeing the Fuhrur demoted to the position of his subordinate would no doubt have appealed to Zola's ego.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Agent Carter, Season 1
I.E. real life
Iron Man 2
A gofer at Mable Comics, appearing in the comic book Not Brand Echh, who used this gift to fight crime (mostly by accident) as the (poorly) masked vigilante Forbush Man.
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