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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Dusty Tome of D&D Stories: Chapter Eight

If you flip ahead in this dusty tome, you will find that we are rapidly approaching the dark times of gaming. As high school ended, our golden era of D&D ended. Dark clouds were already forming as one of our players (who was one of those kids who was so smart that he skipped a grade) went off to college. This was especially painful for me because I had a thing for his mom.

In the years after that, we'd reform the group in one fashion or the other, but it wasn't the same. This dark age lasted pretty much through all of 3rd edition. Once 4th edition approached, I formed the nucleus of one of many new super-groups and haven't looked back since.

These tales are from the time prior to the dark age.

The Torg Lizard Man

1/2 damage from winnebagos
A player decided to try his hand at running a Torg campaign. Torg was an RPG that mixed genres, a lot like Rifts, really. It was the DM's first stab at running a game, and would also be his last.

We were riding in a van. Magic was entering the world or something. We were going to check out a pyramid that had sprung up out of nowhere.

What's that up ahead on the road? Why, it's a lizard man! The DM pulled out his charts for the melee combat to come. I guess he expected us to park the van, get out, draw our weapons and initiate combat in a final fantasy-type manner.

But we're players... in a van! We gleefully cackled as the driver hit the gas and drove right at the monster.

The DM wasn't sure how to proceed. I mean, this was his first game ever. He eventually told us that we hit it. We looked in the rear view mirror. The lizard man got up, spear ready, looking to target a PC torso. I think the DM thought, "OK.. now they'll put it in park, get out, and we'll start an official Torg combat as designed by West End Games."

Nope! Put it in reverse! Ka-thunk ka-thunk - we backed over that abomination. No way he was getting up from that!

Actually, he did. The DM didn't know how to apply damage in this situation. So we drove over this lizard man, back and forth, again and again, until finally the thing stayed down. Toward the end the poor creature's screams almost got to us as we backed over it one final time. Toughest lizard man in any RPG ever.

The Characters with a TWIST

I'll have to get my manager
I was playing under the best DM I've ever played with. I've always had a hard time making characters, so I thought I'd try pushing boundaries with some radical character concepts. I should point out that no one else in the group was interested in having their boundaries pushed.

Puberty Boy: In a D&D game where our characters were going to a university (this was before the existence of Harry Potter), I made a character based on Puberty Boy from The Simpsons. He had acne and a voice that cracked. He did not wield a sword, oh no. He put a bucket on his head and charged his foes, colliding for some serious bucket damage! The DM eventually convinced me to use a horned viking helmet.

Now, here's the really radical part. Puberty Boy was secretly.... a serial killer! It was only a matter of time before our heroes realized that they had a monster in their midst.

The poor DM tried to explain to me that this character was not at all matching the tone of what he was trying to accomplish, but I stood by my stupid character to the very end.

The Elf with a Secret: We were knights with magic powers. I made a female elf. I did a drawing of her. At the end of the first adventure, I planned to reveal that this lady elf was actually... A MALE. Yeah that's right! Cue massive explosion sound effect to denote the minds that would be blown.

Our cross dressing knight had been raised among 16 female sisters, all sworn in to a knightly order that only females could join. My character decided to assume the identity of a woman in the hopes that one day he could somehow join this elven order of ladies.

I was so excited about the big reveal! They'd never view the world the same again, no sir. Truly I was breaking new ground.

Welp, my character took off the wig and the players just kind of looked at me, smiling proudly. Didn't see that coming, did you?

The general reaction was "...What?" I did not receive a standing ovation for my big twist, oh no.
At the end of the session, the DM chose my knightly totem animal. He declared that other characters could transform into cool magic creatures like a dragon or a displacer beast. Me, I was a slithering tracker. Not cool!

Honestly there's a lot of fun stuff that could come out of that. But we were teenagers and it was the early 90's. The slithering tracker thing was like a slap in the face to me, and I lost all enthusiasm for the concept.

I don't know though, maybe I just blew your mind!

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