The Sirens: Sparkle Majestically [Season 3, Episode 6]

Epic battles can, and have, been fought over many goals. Money, fame, power, marriage…and today: food. Having escaped from Xanathar’s Guild Hall and learned new information, the party continues with their Liar’s Night celebration while taking a much needed day off from rebuilding the Yawning Portal.

Of course this means sausage’s need to be turned into nun-chucks.

After typing that sentence, I’ve realized it’s better if you just watch first, but context follows after the video jump.

The Out-Of-Game recap:

D&D characters don’t really change their clothes much (which probably smells wonderful). In almost every campaign, the party needs to dress in noble fashion to attend court at least once, and cramming a dwarf into a corset goes as well as we’d expect. Since fashion and style often play a major factor during low levels and character creation, it’s nice to see a tier 2 fashion party in the Sirens this episode.

I often preach the importance of five senses in storytelling, that every scene should include at least one description of each. Perfumes are my go-to for general descriptions and mood setting for a reason—it triggers player memory. Scent is one of the most powerful memory receptors in humans, and storytellers can use this to invoke everything, from repulsion to feeling snuggled, and warm. When running a city-based campaign with lots of recurring NPC’s and villain groups, the use of fashion, and smell can achieve memorable NPC’s and give players attachment to their PC’s.

In this episode, they spend a fair bit of time designing hilarious outfits for their upcoming party. Without any major antagonists breathing down the parties throats, the challenge becomes who can sparkle the most. Each character has pro’s and cons about their outfit results (some people are NOT happy about losing most of their hair), but in each case it enhances immersion with their character. Outside of the Sirens, try running an encounter where the characters aren’t in their armor, but in casual wear and see the difference. Then try storytelling a fight where they are in noble high-garb. You’ll notice vast differences in how the players relate to their characters, and in this episode this idea comes to fruition.

Lastly, fashion and wardrobe can represent iconic changes in seasons to show the passage of time in a campaign. One of my favorite GM tips is to change the fashion based on the players actions. If they help a particular merchant, or help an NPC rise to power (like a queen), then those NPC’s will influence what everyone wears. Where guards and nobles may have favorite all-black motif’s of the Zhentarim, incorporating small bits of red as the Lords Alliance starts becoming more prominent in the city has impact.

By altering the fashion of the NPC’s you can make characters feel like strangers with a single description.

World Anvil for Game Masters!

World Anvil for Game Masters!

The Story Thus Far:

After escaping from Xanathar’s lair and finishing up the last mission, the party is reunited with Ghost! One of the original members of the Sirens, and a thorn in the side of legitimate business enterprises everywhere. She’s spent most of the season hiding inside of a magical mask, that was placed in a bag of holding and whisked away.

I think the party may have discovered a fantastic new shipping enterprise. Which further begs the question: Why don’t shipping companies just buy every bag of holding on the market? Logistics aside, the reunion back home is a cause for celebration, and taking a day off work. Brig kicks down doors, snot rockets are shot at maximum velocity, and a horribly disgusting food called Ant-Cake is hurled around with gleeful abandon. A few episodes ago, the Sirens were referred to as “trouble”, and this scene is a nightmare for Cadmael’s servants, who will inevitably have to clean this mess up.

Like proper rock-stars, the Sirens are invited to the Sea-Maidens fair during Liar’s Night. They quickly race to generate new outfits, hair styles, and outfits so they can attend in style. Orisha ends up being the least happy with 17% of her hair chopped off horribly at the bottom. Chins up, smiles on, the group attends the party—knowing full well trouble is sure to rise. The ship is invaded by a prank of rats with pumpkins stuck to their heads…and combat begins so they can start kicking the rats off the ship. Nothing should interrupt a good night of games and drinking when they sparkle with so many sequins.

Have the Sirens been betrayed? Will the Emerald Cabal finally get the upper hand they deserve?