Gravedust’s use of the term “cog” definitely predates our decision to have Bandit invoke “cog” as a kind of curse, or I would’ve felt like this account stepped on her toes.

Things the commenters spotted that I didn’t: the alt text is a Paul Harvey reference, and that castle really looks like it’s worried about the adventurers approaching it.

The title is decent. I might have originally gone for just “Diplomacy,” which is a D&D term as well as the name of a game I actually played in high school. But as we’ll soon see, it’s appropriate as a few members of our band are going to have their “diplomatic” skills “checked,” a test they must pass before they can be trusted with the future of the war.