Shadow over Alfheim pt3 – Maze of Nuromen, concluded

My group wrapped up the Maze of Nuromen on Friday night, and as much as I enjoy the module as a reader of modules, as a DM I’m thankful that it’s over.

I know that a DM should always assume nothing, but I was at least hoping that I wouldn’t be dealing with a party that was chaotic stupid. Having a Thief in the party (played by someone I wasn’t expecting to show up) changed the group dynamic enough that it brought to light some serious flaws in both my own DMing and in the module. I had really thought that playing the stereotypical asshole evil thief was so played out and such a negative stereotype that it wasn’t a thing anymore. I was wrong.

While the fighter picked the pieces of the gallows off the cleric, I took up with the goblins who were camping at the bottom of the stairs on level 2. This group was now comprised of a few level 0 npc goblins, a level 2 character goblin, a level 1 elf pretending to be a human magic user, and a (barely) ┬álevel 3 goblin thief (I handwaved racial restrictions to quickly deal with an unanticipated complication), who I’m not sure understood that he was considered an asshole by goblin standards even.

The goblins broke camp and returned through the dining hall. Seeing that one of the harpies was dead, the NPC goblins took some time to loot banquet hall, with the thief taking some too, of course. Instead of immediately going for the prison wing where, the the Fighter and Cleric were, they went to the pantry first, and did some raiding of the stores. While they did, some skeletons showed up. Not as many skeletons as I rolled up, mostly because I didn’t feel like running that big a combat (they would’ve been fighting 8 skeletons with max HP; I put them up against 3). Glad I didn’t, because everyone was making lousy rolls, and it was the NPC goblins who did the most heavy lifting during the fight.

One goblin was mortally wounded, but was allowed to live via some DM generousity. After tending to the wounded goblin, they started hitting up the elf wine, figuring that since there was no way to haul it out of the dungeon, they might as well enjoy what they could then and there. The PC Goblin and Elf convinced the goblins, reluctant to stay in the dungeon, to stick around for at least one more day.

The Cleric and Fighter clumisly made their way back to where they found the drunken goblin party. After some awkward introductions, they finally got the ball rolling and found
Nuromen’s private chambers. I had a lot of fun describing the tapestries in the room, adding some of my own little details, but man, there is so much going on that room, and with 5 people all wanting to do different things, it took some serious crowd control to get things back on track. The elf was curious about the tapestries, and ended up taking one of them. The Goblin checked the drawers, and ended up taking the puppet, having some fun with that. The Thief and Cleric checked the bed. The Thief, being chaotic asshole, disregarded the bodies and pocketed Anthea’s bracelet without even looking at it (“The child’s wearing a silver bracelet with an inscription in ancient elvish”, “Yeah, whatever, i take it, what else is there here to steal?”). Thus the password proved too much a lynchpin of the dungeon. Without that clue, there was no way the party was going to get through the horror door unless I gave them reminders. First, i let them squirm a bit to see if they’d figure it out on their own, but they didn’t.

Leaving the bedchambers, they party found the groto and poked around a bit. The guy playing the Fighter was joking about getting naked in the fountain, so I figured that was a great opportunity to have a Giant Fire Beetle bite his hand. Late in the first round, the Fighter was asking everyone what, if anything, would be the benefits of fighting the Fire Beetles. Maybe because of how he asked it, I ruled that he lost his next combat round because he was asking the NPC goblins existential questions while a fire beetle was biting his hand. The other players all concurred that this was the appropriate (and amusing) response.

Anyway, the beetles were killed, leaving the players wondering if there was anything worthwhile in the Grotto. I let the Cleric know that based on his own knowledge of plants, he could tell everyone that everything in the garden was poisonous such that even touching it was not the best idea.

At some point, I don’t remember exactly when, but it was after they raided the bedchambed, the party camped for the night so the cleric could heal the dying goblin. On the second watch, Nuromen’s ghost wailed angrily. On the final watch (the thief’s), the ghost wailed again, shrieking curses, and mentioned the name “Anthea”. Of course the Thief, playing Chaotic Asshole wrote it off and told the party it was nothing. He got his comeuppance in the barrack’s though. Being a dude who tried to steal everything, he got hurt pretty badly in a surprise attack by the skeletons at the gaming table. Two more NPC goblins got killed in this scrap, at which point the goblins said it was time to go home.

The party continued to be confounded a bit by the dead-ends both on the second floor and the torture room, though they came up with a pretty elaborate scheme to grease the view-port of the iron door, so I let them get a glimpse inside. But seeing as they were going to be stuck unless I gave them a nudge, a few of the goblins, who were going to try to take a barrel or two of wine back with them, said “Hey, check that guy’s pockets, we saw him steal something back in the bedroom off that corpse.” Provided now with the information needed to get past the horror door, the party proceeded to Nuromen’s study.

This was another difficult room to run, since there was so much stuff in it and so much going on. The cleric made a bee-line for the bookshelves, since they were sent to find a book. For simplicity sake, I let all the books on the shelf be ruined ala Myst, but the Cleric found the secret door and went down it. Meantime, the thief is stealing exploding potions, and the goblin lets the frog out, which caused a bit of madness.

The cleric takes the Book of Power, the elf takes the two spellbooks, and the goblin takes the keys. The Cleric and Fighter have their objective, and Elf has some new spellbooks. The thief wants more treasure, and the Fighter and Goblin concur, so they decide to go on. The torture room is torturous, and the thief gets more treasure. The iron maiden has an angry zombie; I decided that the zombie is stuck on the spikes and can’t get out, so I gave him extra HP to see what the party would do. They spent about 4 rounds making sure it was dead, rather than just closing it back up.

The hall of Statues was a bit of an unsuccessful test of the party’s dedication. They got about halfway there, they really did! The fighter made his save after he turned the head the wrong way. The elf came up with an elaborate pulley to turn the other statue’s head, but turned it the wrong way. They gave up before trying to turn the heads the other way.

After finding the illuminated manuscript with the dead evil cleric, the party leaders decided they were laiden with treasures in the form of the 4 books and chest they couldn’t open, and decided that they’d head back to Alfort for their reward and wrapup.

So, Nuromen doesn’t show up, which means he’s now going to be an angry (and possibly recurring) villain, with a grudge against the elf, the cleric, and the thief.

I’m going to be sending my players some of their item assessments by email, after I tally up their XP. The Minstrel got to recur, this time playing in the tavern. (“You see. I was wrong. Caelden’s not coming back. He’s already here!”) I’m still trying to figure out the best way to assess items & calculate XP for things. As much as I like the realism of not giving out the value of non-coin treasures and not giving the exact number of coins in chests unless the party takes a turn or two to count them, I feel like it’s going to be a mechanical stumbling block, and a personal stumbling block for myself, since I’m having to keep track of treasures rather than just handing them off to my players.

Anyway, unless they decide to return to Laws End to continue looting, this will be the end of Maze of Nuromen. Again, it was harder to run than I would’ve liked, but going through with a highlighter helped tremendously. Also, have some contingencies if the party can’t figure out the Bracelet clue.

I hope I will find out after a few emails, but the players will either be taking on the Old Island Fortress, the Zombraire’s Estate, or Tower of Dreams in the next session.

Anyway, I won’t be around for most of the rest of this week, so it will take longer than usual to approve comments from new posters, but I’ll try to have a little bit of content scheduled for while I’m gone.

Music – boris, Another Noise

Bleh! I have been sick most of this week! Fortunately I am well enough to finish running Maze of Nuromen for my group tonight. Plus, I get to meet a new player, one who’s familiar with B/X!

Don’t know if I’ll have time for a real post today while I catch up on a lot of things, so enjoy these new tracks by boris in the meantime.

Is Mapping Unfair?

I was thinking about the mapping for my game, because i’m considering giving my players a couple of “work-in-progress” maps of the Maze of Nuromen, representing where they’ve been so far; the first to the group of goblins, who, since they started in the middle of the dungeon, need something for a bit of orientation, and the second for the alpha party, whose mapper is a novice.

The eldest member of the group pointed out to the novice mapper that he should be grateful that I’ve helped him with mapping and pointed to a few significant mistakes (“dude, you mixed up East and West; here, let me just turn your map upside-down. Now it’s right. I’ll draw you a compass rose”)

I guess the reason why I feel like mapping is unfair is because it’s much easier to draw a map based on what you’re seeing around you than what you’re being told. I mean, the game already takes into account “mapping speed”, implying that the characters, if not the players, are carefully measuring and taking account of things. Room descriptions can be somewhat cumbersome, because you have to tell your players what’s in the room that immediately jumps out at them (either an encounter or a more figurative ‘jumps out’, like a big statue or altar or whatever), what’s in the room, what’s in the room after careful inspection of the room, dimensions of the room (god help you if you’re in anything that’s not a rectangle or something that resembles a tetris piece!), the locations of the exits from said room, and you need to figure out the best order in which to tell the players this! The problem is even worse if the players are in the subterrain and the walls and tunnels are irregular. For instance, while Dyson is a phenomenal artist when it comes to dungeon maps, a lot of his maps I would have a difficult time describing effectively enough to my players for them map.

I like some of the things I’ve seen for 4e, which wholly embraced the board game nature, of which there are many vestiges found in Basic, of Dungeons & Dragons, that took iconic dungeons like the Tomb of Horrors and made printable tile-sets for the rooms and tunnels. No worrying about where the players were actually stepping, whether they did or did not walk over a certain spot or getting lost even though the character in game are mapping and are capable mappers (the player doesn’t have to know magic or be good with a sword to play a wizard or a swordman, but he has to be able to map to play a character who can map; that hardly seems fair).

But you can’t always print off your dungeons in handy tile or geomorph format, and you can’t always work your dungeons onto a HeroQuest board (unless you’re running a HeroQuest to D&D conversion!), so what’s a DM to do? Right now, I don’t have the answer to that. My game is running myriad OSR dungeons, all of which are using the 10′ square grid maps.

One thing I’ve been considering as a future solution, however, is flowchart dungeons. I’m inspired partially by Random Wizard’s interactive node maps of some of the old modules and also Matthew Schmeer’s incredibly bizarre One Page Dungeon, The Wizard in the Woods is Up to Something (Maybe), which has almost twice the real-estate of Maze of Nuromen on a single page thanks to its keyed flow-chart. Even Zork, with its massive underworld, is just a big flowchart. Thinking about how we conceptualize space, locations and the distance between them, the flowchart makes more sense than a rigidly scaled map, and is much easier to convey to your players. It’s easier to say “You’re in a large underground room held up by 4 pillars, there are 6 exits; north, northeast, east, southeast, south, and west” than “…there are doors north and south, and a door on the opposite end of the room from which you came in. Also there are two doors on the east wall at the northeast and southeast corners of the room”, which would be the Room 2 in the Maze of Nuromen.

After this dungeon, I might experiment with treating the mapped dungeons as a flowchart rather than in concrete terms. If they ask for or need dimensions, I can give it to them. We’ll see!

Vein vs. Vein: Anatomy of a boris Remixssue

So, after some careful listening, I’m beginning to figure out what the new Vein IS. IS, as in what it’s composition, based on the original vein, IS.

Disc 1, the reimagined hardcore version, principally takes the one-two minute punk/grindcore tracks, isolates them, and removes most of the droning/jamming (contrary to the name, the hardcore version is comprised of about 50-60% drone). Instead of the extended instrumental intro, it cuts the intro down to just over a minute, adds in an additional instrumental piece that I can’t identify (based on the mix, which is significantly different). The instrumental outro of Side A is instrumental outro of disc 1.

Disc 2, the reimagined drone version, seems to be an extended jam of the the second part of the original hardcore version’s instrumental intro (fuzz/feedback/doomy bassline). Some of this made it into side A of the drone version, but again, the mix is substantially different, with the driving bassline brought front and center. It has more in common, soundwise, with the instrumental intro (around the 5 minute mark) of Hardcore’s side A. The second half of Disc 2 seems like a more straighforward remix of drone side b, although somewhat condensed.

Vein CD is a very different experience than either of the Vein LPs. The hardcore disc is decidedly more hardcore, by simple elimination of the moodsetting instrumentals. The drone disc, while still instrumental and droning, has more of a doom element by pushing the noise to the back and the rhythm to the front of the mixes during its first phases. You have a fairly consistent track, in some ways reminiscent more of Cloud Chamber than Vein’s drone disc, which feels cohesive and thematically similar to the original, while it avoids the ubiquitous squealing of feedback, except in its climax (as mentioned before, taken from the latter portion of Side b), which largely defined its LP counterpart.

While an interesting experiment in reduction and remixing, I feel that a large part from the Hardcore disc is missing. Lacking the extensive and sweeping metal instrumentals that punctuated those brief and incredibly chaotic songs, the CD makes for less pleasurable listening than the LP version. It feels like less of a holistic experience than a collection of short and thrashing punk songs by a band that is more well known for their lengthy and melodious stoner metal suites. The Drone CD, in some ways is an improvement, offering some variation that wasn’t necessarily present on the original, and showcases some of boris’ best hard-driving instrumental metal since the Thing Which Solomon Overlooked series.

 

I have been trolled by Boris again.

I just got the new 2CD Edition of Vein the other day. My first thoughts were “Yay, now I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to hunt down the Drone version!” and “Yay, now I don’t have to setup my stereo speakers to where the cat will destroy them when i want to listen to my copy of the Hardcore version!” Because Vein, which was one of Boris’s best albums, was released as two clear, unlabeled LPs, the first disc of which was limited to 1100 copies and only released in western hemisphere while the second was limited to 400 copies only released in the eastern hemisphere. Needless to say, getting a full copy of vein was a difficult and expensive prospect, and succeeding would land you in an extremely exclusive group of individuals.

Well, they put out a 2cd set which, instead of being a cd reissue of the original album(s) was a remixed/reimagined cd version on 2 5″cds with 3″ bands (to reflect the strange pressing of the original which had a screened image on the outer two inches of a 12 inch LP.) So, instead of two 30 minute cds or one 60ish minute cd that included the entirety of Vein, they put out two 18 minute cds which together come out to barely over half the time of the original albums. I’m still interested, because it IS effectively a different album, but man! I’m still kinda cheesed that I have to turn to youtube for my digital versions of Vein.

Anyway, I also got their new album, Noise. The Japanese edition, of course, since it came with a second disc that extends things a little over 20 minutes. And I’m glad I did, because those songs on the bonus disc rock pretty hard. I think that Noise may grow on me. While I’m not completely blown away by it like the first time I heard Pink, I have to remember that it took awhile before I fully appreciated Smile and saw it for the masterpiece it was. Whether it grows on me or not, Noise is another step back in the right direction, away from the mess that was New Album, Heavy Rocks 2 and Attention Please.

New Album was such a jarring stylistic transition that it almost felt like a joke (i’m still not sure that it wasn’t, it just wasn’t a funny one, except for how confused western music review sites were when comparing albums in incorrect order because of the discrepancies between the Japanese and US release dates). I could never get past the feeling that “this just isn’t boris, why am I listening to J-Pop?”. Attention Please was interesting, but as much as I adore Wata as a guitarist who could wipe the floor with Eric Clapton any day of the week, she’s boring as a lead vocalist on this boring album that doesn’t really showcase what she’s best at. Heavy Rocks 2 was the best of that sad trio, but ultimately felt like a very uneven collection of B-sides for a better album that never materialized.

Praparat was a huge, shining ray of hope, and Noise is almost what I want from a new boris album. In fact it’s so close and so much better than their 2011 releases, that I’ll take it and be happy about it. It’s almost enough for me to forgive them the Vein CD. At least if I can ever scrape together enough cash for the Thing Which Solomon Overlooked Chronicles, I know it’ll be the original LPs and the bonus disc.

So, after I’m done soaking in the sickly stevia sweet Jetty Rae, I’ll be switching gears and taking in a little chaos from the Japanese lords of metal.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – That Review I Said I Was Going To Do

X-Men: Days of Future Past was quite the spectacle, and was a rather enjoyable foray into sci-fi escapism that easily washes away how boring X2 was and how awful Last Stand was.

The fight scenes were enjoyable, well paced, and, unlike Man of Steel, did not seem as though they existed to pad out an incredibly sparse script.

It was an interesting choice to set Days of Future Past into the First Class continuity. It allowed them to retcon the abysmally awful Last Stand, whose only real redeeming quality was that Cyclops died. It also gave them an out so they didn’t have to have super old Patrick Stewart and super old Ian McKellen in young makeup and slugging it out like men 40 years younger in an action flick (though grizzled old Magneto fighting Sentinels was probably one of the best parts of the movie; I totally wanted Ian McKellen to say “You shall not pass!”). One of the reasons why the choice to set it in the past is interesting, however, is that originally the storyline took place in the X-men’s present. The horrid dystopian future they were trying to prevent was in 2013. So, for the film, the dystopian future is either our future or an alternative present (given everyone’s age, might make as much sense as anything, given the events of the original Xmen trilogy and Kitty Pride’s age) and the past is not the past of Last Stand, nor even our own present, but the past of First class.

There were a few problems with putting it in the first class timeline. Of course, there’s the issue that Kitty Pride would not be old enough to go back in time to the First Class period, though she would have been old enough to if the present/past had been immediately after X3. Or they could’ve just sent Kitty back in time using a different, more plausible method (yeah, I know, it was kind of a mutant power thing in the comic, but there was no reason that an adult Shadow Cat couldn’t get sent back in time). All told, I’m glad they didn’t, and I’ll explain why in a minute. The big problem for me was what happened to the First Class X-Men. All killed in a line of dialogue. That’s even worse that the Araki style getting punched so hard that you get flash-backed into your origin story just before you die. Not that I really liked any of the First Class X-Men that much, but still. Damn.

There are a lot of purists who argue about the choice to send Wolverine back in time. I never read the comic, though, so my familiarity with the Days of Future Past came from the Cartoon, in which Bishop came back in time to save the future. And it made perfect sense, because so far as I could tell, Bishop’s mutant power was being a black dude who travelled through time to save the future. Since he used a gun and didn’t really do anything else but travel back in time to save the future, how was I supposed to know that wasn’t his power? So why am I glad that they didn’t send Shadow Cat back in time? I have never really seen any Ellen Page movies (I’m not counting X3), and after what little dialogue she had, I can say that I don’t think I could’ve watched an entire movie where she was talking all the time. I mean, if someone else was playing Shadow Cat and didn’t have a crackly kind of voice that sounds like she’s about to start crying all the time (like Claire Danes, for instance), I’d be all about having her go back in time by whatever means to save the day. Just because Ellen Page was in X3 didn’t mean she had to be in other movies. But, she was and she, unarguably, has name recognition and star power.

Which brings me to my next observation. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that had so many big name female actors who were, by and large, marginalized. Sure, we get a lot of Jennifer Lawrence, who is the current in an incredibly long line of holders of that short lived title “America’s Sweetheart”, but consider for a moment that this movie also has the Oscar Winning Halle Berry (apparently marginalized by her pregnancy, something no male actor would every have to worry about; really, though, her cache has fallen significantly since the early 00s, due in no small part to the dismal failure of Catwoman; finally, of note, Storm’s character was the only X-Men who Wolverine mentioned that Xavier should look for who he did not call by real name), Oscar winning Anna Paquin (who was all but cut from the movie; while I’m not a fan of Paquin, somewhat unfairly because I hated how Rogue was written, not her fault at all, I was happy to see that at least at the end of things, Rogue is still a mutant and hasn’t martyred herself for physical intimacy), and All Sorts of Crap winning Ellen Page (who again, I’m kind of glad wasn’t actually in more of the film) who are all very much pushed into the background while Magneto and Prof-X, with a little help from Wolverine and Beast, fight for the heart and mind of a confused and angry woman.

All that said, Days of Future Past is wildly entertaining, and probably one of the best movies in the franchise. The choreography and visual acting of the future mutants, especially Bishop and Blink, are all phenomenal. Fan Bingbing (or at least the effects used to bring her mutant powers as Blink to life on the screen) steals every scene she’s in, and Omar Sy’s intensity as Bishop makes me cross my fingers that he’ll be a key player in the next film in which Apocalypse finally arrives. Oops, did I spoil something?

Shadow over Alfheim, pt2 – Maze of Nuromen

I’ve had a lot going on! After I finish this rundown of Maze of Nuromen, I have some more thoughts on the new X-Men now that I’ve actually seen it.

First, I’d like to mention, the reason I shared that previous article, aside from my hatred of hashtag activism, is because I think Shonda Rimes is pretty awesome and what she’s saying is being decontextualized. Which is ironically why she begins with saying that she doesn’t like giving commencement speeches, because instead of being the intimate affairs they once were between the speaker and the students, they’re now posted, criticized, reviewed, and generally picked apart by anyone and everyone. But the gist of her whole speech was “Be someone who does something”; she didn’t tweet “#morewomenandpeopleofcolorinTVnow”, she actually went out there and created successful ensemble shows featuring incredibly diverse cast and crews. Yeah, it’s hard, yeah it takes a lot of work, but if it’s something you really want, you’ll put in that work to see what you want become reality.

Which segues awkwardly into the rest of this post. It’s one thing to talk about game theory and write about gaming; it’s another thing to actually run a game. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of work, and I’ve found that I’m fudging on things I told myself I wouldn’t fudge on, making my game a lot more forgiving than maybe a b/x game should be, though my reasoning has been that I’m running modules balanced for parties of 4-6 for two characters. When one person dies in a large party, it’s easy enough to write in a new character, a replacement. It happens often enough in stories with ensemble casts. But when there are only two characters, it’s like if mid-way through the first season of CHiPs, someone shoots Eric Estrada and he’s dead for real. Or if someone shoots Stephanie Zimbalist and Remington Steel just chugs along with some other lady. That’s not a MJS trapdoor; that’s an aborted story and probably the end of the series, or, in this case, the game.

I was really hoping to do a more in-depth review of Maze of Nuromen, but now is not a good time. First, because I’ve been crazy busy and don’t have the time to devote to it at the moment, and secondly, my players are still in the Maze! No fair giving spoilers, but I’ll talk about what I’ve done already.

In some ways, I’ve made Law’s End a lynchpin of my setting, even though I’ve changed a few things about it. In this setting, there was no entourage of elves and an elven prince, rather Nuromen himself was an elven autocrat and servant of Caelden, the wicked high elven king. The crown was a gift to Nuromen for his loyalty. I’ve also cursed it: since elves are unconscionably evil, it’s definitely not going to give any charisma bonuses to non-elves, but it might give them some affinity for the elven undead. Mwah ha ha.

One of the advantages of making Law’s end an early crawl in this setting is it just goes to illustrate how horrid and depraved and evil the elves in my setting were. And if Caelden is even more wicked than Nuromen, and he is going to return to claim his kingdom, heaven help us!

Going through the module with a highlighter and checking off the things that are important to be mentioned in the room was a tremendous amount of help. If there’s one problem with Maze of Nuromen, it’s that it feels like a module meant to be read rather than run. A lot of details, while fun and adding to the ambiance, will never be known to the players, will be difficult for a DM to work in easily, and make the room descriptions more cumbersome than they need to be.

I put the group of goblins under the control of a new player (since halflings are goblins in this setting) who wanted to play a ranger (thanks, Zenopus Archives!). He was supposed to be with a Magic User whose mentor had killed himself, driven mad by dreams of Caelden, Nuromen and Law’s End, but the player who wanted to be a MU bailed at the last second. SO, they all camped in room 16 for the duration of the short (traffic was a nightmare, and everyone was late, myself included) session. I have to take a little bit of pride in my DMing that even though this new player didn’t get into the action, opting to stay put until the other characters found him, he had a good time and enjoyed listening to the rest of the game. He also remarked how much easier it was to play and create a character than our previous 3.5 gestalt game where we spent 4+ hours creating characters while it was Ragnarok outside.

Anyway, my players who were a part of the action began some serious exploration, including the main hall, the dining hall, kitchen and dungeons. I went easy on them with the harpies and after a few hits, the harpies legitimately failed their morale checks. I could’ve had a TPK on my hands, but preferred it to be good scare. Ironically, they had more trouble with the zombie who shuffled out of the kitchen to see what was going on. They set it on fire, and then had to fight a burning zombie.

I had fun with the locked door to Nuromen’s study, though I wish that the door were described in the main hall or that the Study’s number was closer to the main hall’s, if only because there are a lot of important details about something IN the main hall that’s listed a few pages away. Again, I also had a lot of fun with the illusory prisoner; because I’d established that there were elven ghosts, they couldn’t figure out whether it was an illusion or a ghost. They eventually figured out that they were wasting their time. Now, THIS was one of the times when the additional information in the room descriptions was helpful, because it gave an idea of how to roleplay the illusory prisoner.

Anyway, the party is looking for a book that their patron has asked for them to retrieve. Ideally, they’ll bring it back, be handsomely rewarded, and the lord will have some money to begin his project to start building a harbor near Alfort. But things are never what they seem. Plus, if they leave after only completing part of the dungeon, I can always send them back for more stuff.