Monday, June 01, 2009

The Evil That Demi-Humans Do

So, yes, I've officially sunk so low that I'm willing to tell my old gaming stories on my blog. Let's consider this a test, to see whether all gaming stories are really just "you kind of had to be there" shaggy dog stories, or just the vast majority of them.

This one isn't actually about me (which is, I think, a +1 on the "general entertainment" scale...any gamer will tell you that the worst nightmare is to be stuck sitting next to someone whose every utterance is about how tough their imaginary self is.) It's about a game I was in, though, where we were helping the rightful Emperor regain his throne from a secret cabal of evil mages who feared the Emperor because he was immune to magic. It was our job to foil these evil schemers and restore the Emperor to power!

Until we, um, killed him.

See, we'd found a few magical items on our travels (like you do), and one of them was a "castle in a bottle"--it was a bottle, about the size of a backpack, with a castle inside it. You put on a ring, you got teleported inside the castle in the bottle, and you shrank so that the castle was full-scale to you. Fairly straightforward magical item.

Well, one of the players, Amanda, was getting on everyone's nerves (in a good way--she was a fun person playing an obnoxious character, not an obnoxious person driving the rest of the group up the wall), and someone got the bright idea of sticking her in the bottle. So they grabbed her, put on the ring, let her go, and took off the ring. Bingo, she's in the castle and can't get out until we let her out.

But she's a mage in her own right (not an evil cabal mage, just a mage.) She decides she's not putting up with that, and casts "dispel magic" on the bottle. She actually succeeds, temporarily dispelling the magic that makes the castle small. Suddenly, the entire party is hit with what the GM charmingly describes as a "+1/+1 castle."

Most of us survive. (I was reduced to single-digit hit points, but I survived.) The Emperor? Turns out immunity to magic is great, but immunity to rapidly-approaching stone walls would be handier.

So now our quest is to destroy the cabal of mages and find a new Emperor. Amanda's character is still around, mainly because the gods themselves appeared to us and told us that she has to take part in the divine task of finding the godly-anointed Emperor, and killing her would be met with a little high-quality smiting. Which, fair enough, most of the people who died were NPCs, and the motto of our gaming group was always "NPCs are like tropical fish. They're pretty to look at, but don't get too attached to them." (I should put that on a T-shirt.)

But another member of our group, Joe, was not the "forgive and forget" type. He decided to find a way to bump off Amanda that would be non-smite-inducing. He decided to do a little research on the castle while everyone else was asleep, putting on the ring and taking it off over and over again while walking away from the castle (which had returned to the bottle once the effects of the "dispel magic" spell wore off--it's a powerful magical item, you don't just dispel them with a wave of your hand), and he figured out the exact range of the teleportation spell.

How is this fatal? Well, for the final battle against the cabal, we'd obtained a powerful, destructive magical item...sort of like a nuke, except that it turned stuff to stone instead of just blowing it up. The problem was, it was activated by holding it and speaking a command word. So the user had a tendency to get turned to stone, as well. But good old helpful Joe came up with a plan. "Amanda, we'll fly far overhead with the castle. You take the item, and we'll drop you. Then, you speak the command word, let go of the item and put on the ring, and zap! You'll be teleported back to the castle and perfect safety."

And so Amanda dropped out of the sky towards dozens of evil mages, spoke the command word, put on the ring...and nothing happened. Until, that is, she was turned to stone, hit with just about every destructive spell in the Player's Handbook, and then fell onto the ground and shattered into a million pieces.

Because you really, really didn't want to mess with Joe.


David said...

That is really funny:-)

MissE said...


Joe sounds like a man with a very evil and genius plan.

Kate Holden said...

Oh man, I love how in pencil and paper RPGs really crazy stuff like that can happen, it's a definite example of why the video game versions, while fun, will never make the original game obsolete.

Christopher B said...

"Let's consider this a test..."

I'd say the post passed the test - because that story was hilarious. I didn't have to be there - but I wish I had been, just to see it all come together. :P