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Community: season 5, episode 10 - Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

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This episode picks up where the previous episode, "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" left off, with the current incarnation of Community's cast returning to the game. Here's the opening description:

A blood orange sunrise crests the peaks of Rage Mountain as the eight of you arrive at the trouble realm of Galindor, ahead to the north, a bridged ravine, beyond that a mysterious black tower where beyond that, where rumors has it, an evil necromancer dwells. Your goal: reach the top of the tower and destroy the necromancer, freeing the realm from his evil magic.

Hank picks up on the "railroad" nature of the game:

That's just what I love about role-playing games...being told exactly what to do.

The eight players start out as:

  • Hank Hickey's (David Cross) character sheet reads: Joseph Gordon Diehard son of Sir Riggs Diehard
  • Professor Hickey's (Jonathan Banks) character sheet reads: Sir Riggs Diehard

Seeing through the transparent attempt to get the two Hickeys to repair their father/son relationship by playing a role-playing game, Hank shuffles the character sheets and here's the new arrangement:

  • Jeff Winger (Joe McHale) plays Sir Riggs Diehard
  • Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs) plays Fibrosis the Ranger
  • Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) is the Dungeon Master
  • Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown) plays Crouton the Half-Orc Druid
  • Annie Edison (Alison Brie) plays Hector the Well-Endowed
  • Craig Pelton (Jim Rash) plays Joseph Gordon, Son of Riggs. "I protect the blade of Diehard, a family sword whose power knows no equal. In our clan the leader carries the hilt, his eldest heir the blade, for we believe man's greatest weapon against evil is the bond between a father and son."
  • Ben Chang (Ken Jeong) plays a troll named Dingleberry
  • Professor Hickey (Jonathan Banks) plays Tiny Nuggins, a thief "and the rest is gibberish"
  • Hank Hickey (David Cross) plays Tristram Steelheart, a holy cleric with a mace "and a dumb name"

Hector (Annie) decides to cross the bridge and head for the Black Tower. Tristram (Hank) disagrees and decides to head south, which the DM reacts to by whipping out a massive tome of details. We're now in a sandbox mode of gaming. Hector decides to forcibly pick up Tristram to carry him across the bridge. Tristram disagrees and casts Torvin's Flesh of Fire (likely inspired by the fire shield spell), which wreaths him in hot flames burning Hector for six damage. The fire sets the bridge on fire, causing the ropes to snap and everyone must make a Dexterity check. Everyone plummets into the ravine below, falling into the icy waters of Skull River.

Sir Riggs (Jeff), Tiny Nuggins (Hickey), Hector (Annie), and Crouton (Shirley) are washed left down Skull River. Tristram (Hank), Fibrosis (Britta), Dingleberry (Chang), and Joseph (Dean Pelton) are washed right. The DM splits up the party into two rooms.

When Jeff points out that Abed isn't helping with the intra-party conflict, the DM replies: "I wouldn't be a good DM if I did."

A competition is constructed between the Hickeys and the two teams. If Professor Hickey's team kills the Necromancer first, he goes to his grandson's birthday, but if Hank's team beats the Necromancer, the Professor doesn't go to Christmas or Thanksgiving at Aunt Rachel's.

  • Team Hickey: Professor Hickey's team awakens on a muddy river bank surrounded by treacherous, god-forsaken, non-zipline vacation jungle. After making s'mores and drying their boots, Tiny Nuggins decides to go off into the jungle. Through the brush in the distance they notice a patrol of a half of dozen hobgoblins. Nuggins charges towards and attacks the nearest one in the chest, but misses and falls down. Crouton the druid casts entangle on four hobgoblins. The two free hobgoblins fire arrows at Crouton, Hector fires back. The hobgoblins bolt into the jungle. But it's too late - Crouton was already badly wounded from her fall in the Skull River. The arrows from the hobgoblins finish her off. Hickey disputes the reality of not being able to punch hobgoblins in the heart, but Abed explains that Hickey is role-playing a small halfling in entangling brush against much larger hobgoblins. Or in other words, Hickey is not playing himself, he's playing a much weaker character.
  • Team Hank: Still traveling north along the narrow cliff edges of the Hawhtorne Mountains. Tristram casts a healing spell on Fibrosis. They hear an ominous screech, encountering three huge white arachnids with eagle wings known as sky spiders. Joseph Gordon threatens with his sword. Tristram casts speak with monsters and says "Hello, you're looking well!" The lead spider communicates by excreting silk, a sign of submission.
  • Team Hickey: They track the hobgoblins to a shack. Hector fires a sniper arrow, dropping the guard. Nuggins sneaks in, backstabs another guard with a critical hit. While Nuggins climbs, five goblins enter, flanked by Sir Riggs who cleaves them in half. Between Hector and Riggs they take three down, leaving just two goblins left. That's when they decide to play the two goblins, Golbak and Klang, against each other, revealing directions to the tower.
  • Team Hank: They ride the sky spiders closer to the tower, while Joseph Gordon keeps attempting to communicate with his father through their broken blade. After writing multiple notes and rolling over and over (just a 1% chance of it happening, or 00), Gordon finally gets through to his father. Both parties are now aware of the other's location and just how close they are to the tower. It's entirely possible a party vs. party war may erupt.

Both parties arrive at the Black Tower simultaneously. Joseph insists on hugging the elder Riggs, but because he refuses to embrace him, slaughters the younger Riggs. The entire party erupts into warfare, managing to slaughter each other. It's down to the cleric and the thief trying to find the evil necromancer. Both of the Hickey's argue that Abed owes them a climactic ending. Abed's response:

I owe you nothing. I am a dungeon master. I create a boundless world and I bind it by rules. Too heavy for a bridge? it breaks. Get hit? Take damage. Spend an hour outside someone's front door fighting over who gets to kill him? He leaves through the back. He's out there somewhere. You might find him if you get your crap together.

The Hickeys find some healing potions, divide them up, and heal each other. That's how the episode ends-- but it delightfully picks up with Abed playing D&D 5th Edition, Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. His players are Annie's "stuffies" and when Abed runs out of time (Annie can't sleep without them) he pulls a "rocks fall, everyone dies."

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