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Monday, April 7, 2014

The Dusty Tome of D&D Stories: Chapter Six

F is for FIGHTING
It was the very early 90's and all we did was go to high school and play Dungeons & Dragons. It was common for us to break out into the MST3K forklift song. I had one friend who couldn't stop himself from quoting lines from Ren & Stimpy's "Space Madness" episode (which, wow, if you go back and watch it... wow).

I had run two successful campaigns and now was content to let my friend do all the DMing. I usually hate being a player, but he was a fantastic Dungeon Master. It was unreal how much quality stuff he could make up on the spot.

He ran a series of campaigns, including the Spelljammer one with the Statue of Fra. Then he ran a campaign in the world of Greyhawk, which to this day is probably my favorite campaign I've ever played in.

The Ultimate Inter-Party Combat

We were teenaged males, and thus inter-party combat was a fact of life. If you sneezed wrong, you could get a knife in the back.

My good friend Quiet Guy had made a yuan-ti psionicist (that's a snake man with psychic powers). My other friend was running an "optimized" character who did one thing really well: he threw daggers. He somehow set up his character so he could throw six daggers per round or something.

I don't know how the squabble started. I remember we were in the desert, and the two faced off. Dagger Guy unsheathed his dozens of blades. Quiet Guy put up... an inertia barrier.

An inertia barrier is a personal force field that makes projectiles lose their inertia. So the daggers started flying, and then plopped to the ground in front of Quiet Guy. Quiet Guy had to focus to keep his barrier up. He couldn't attack, he could only maintain.

So dagger after dagger is thrown, all plopping harmlessly to the ground. Dagger Guy can't do anything else! So he takes out his bag of holding and puts it into his portable hole. Somewhere, in some 2e book, it is suggested that if this happens, there's a dimensional rift/massive explosion/universe-is-destroyed kind of event.

I am sitting there thinking, "Hmmm... I guess the DM will roll to see which plane they are sucked into, how fun". Some of us bystanders excitedly discuss the prospect of looting the corpses of these two dueling heroes (obviously they were loaded up with magic items).

The DM hears that, and decides that they are sucked into the Elemental Plane of Fire. They die, their weapons explode. They make new characters.

DM vs. Player

This was during a period where Quiet Guy was "rebelling" against our DM. I don't know what the hell he was rebelling against, or what point he was trying to make, but he was always doing things that the DM suggested we shouldn't do because it was dangerous/beyond the scope of the adventure/etc.

So over the course of a few months, here's some of the things that went down:

- We were traveling through the wilderness. One night, Quiet Guy refused to sleep in the tent with the rest of the party. He slept outside. At night, a sabre-toothed tiger attacked him out in the woods alone while he was sleeping, critted him, and thus tore a hole in the back of his armor which he refused to get repaired. He was eventually back-stabbed by an assassin through the hole and died.

- We went through a basic D&D adventure called Skarda's Mirror. It was about a monster ape that could travel through mirrors in a big dungeon. The DM warned us at the start: If you go off alone, you will probably die. Quiet Guy ditched the party and went off alone. The ape killed him.

- Quiet guy made a hadozee (a monkey man with membrane wings). There had been a dragon war, ruby dragons vs brown dragons. There was only one of each type left. We were on the side of the rubies. We get to the final battle, and Quiet Guy ditches the party to try to fight the brown dragon... alone. It kills him.

- Another new character. Tiamat was mad at us. We ended up going to her lair. Quiet Guy... ditches the party to fight her alone. Tiamat's five heads breathe on him all at once. He dies.

- Another new character. We were on a glass ship that could sail on sand. Quiet Guy refuses to get on the ship. He tries to follow our ship on foot. He is killed by a land shark.

I never understood the thought process behind this, but it was fascinating to watch.

Vecna Lives!

This happened a year or two later, but is in the same vein. New campaign, set in the world of Greyhawk. We had begun the classic adventure Vecna Lives.

We had to save the world! A great journey was ahead of us! One problem - I'd spent all my starting gear. I needed a horse.
I asked Quiet Guy if he could buy a horse for me. He said no. He had the money, but he was offended at the idea of even loaning my character gold.

I was a lawful good paladin. I sure wasn't going to steal a horse. I shrugged and decided to start walking toward our destination. It was many miles away and time was of the essence. We would surely fail if a horse could not be obtained.

Quiet Guy declared, "I follow him from a distance, keeping out of sight."

And that is how the world of Greyhawk was taken over by Vecna, God of Secrets.

1 comment:

C.D. Gallant-King said...

We had a guy like Quiet Guy, except he wasn't quiet. Otherwise the results were the same.

I love the ending of Vecna game. "Now with a bang, but with a whimper..." :-)