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Hack For More

WEEK 14: 05/27/04

by Edward McEneely
Jun 08,2004


Hack For More

WEEK 14: 05/27/04

We got off to a late-ish start today because I opted to go home and drive back to Erich's house in my sporty little automobile. I recently upgraded it it from three back to its original complement of four wheels, so I thought I'd take it for a test drive. None of the wheels came off this time, so that's good enough for me. Moving on!

The players---now accompanied by a massive menagerie of animals almost entirely unsuited to dungeon crawling---made their way back to the familiar old dungeon, which Erich is determined to map out fully, no matter how many PCs are killed in the effort.

The players sauntered into the hitherto unplumbed depths of the dungeon, ready for anything. Here, a confession: I don't use the random monster tables. For starters, they're insanely large, using something like a d10,000 roll, which makes a serious run on my d10 supply (like many gamers, I was briefly into White Wolf, mostly to try and meet girls, during the mid-nineties. It passed, though. With a vengeance.) Additionally, for some reason, every fibre of my raised-during-the-nineties mental framework rebels against random encounters. I mean, they're so...arbitrary. Erich, Seth and Laura question plenty of my already very arbitrary calls already ("The skeletons are clumped together? I thought they were scattered across the room!" "They're fast, dammit! No skin or muscle to slow 'em down!" "...I see.") and I don't really feel a need to rationalize a war party of gnolls in an Orcish lair. (Yes, two or three reasons have already presented themselves, but how many random encounter s are that convenient?) I already hear the defenders of random encounters, though, bellowing something along the lines of "straw man! straw man, you BASTARD!", so I freely admit that any halfway decent GM knows to use the encounters as a suggestion, as a sort of postmodernist framework to build around, but (a) I'm already playing a game based on a comic strip based on a game based on a wargame based loosely on a novel, and that's plenty postmodern for my tastes, and (b) I never claimed to be even halfway competent. So there.

Erich discovered a secret door while Laura and Seth exchanged witty banter, and was spun into a room containing three inert skeletons while Seth and Laura tried to figure out how to bust in themselves. (A warm ear pressed to the door activated it, if you must know. I like lame traps, because I haven't the wit for complicated ones.) Various stratagems failed miserably before Laura and Seth came to this conclusion, and Laura immediately transited through to help Erich out with the Skeletons before realizing that the door couldn't be opened from the inside. (Perhaps it was once a meat freezer? I make it up as I go along.) Erich first used warp wood and then his open doors roll to bust out, but jammed the door in the process. Fortunately, Luvia was merciful and granted him a "Soften Stone" spell which was used to dig a trench under the door, freeing Laura. This whole process took a very long time, though, much longer than this paragraph. There was a lot of intraparty dialogue, so me of which caused me to collapse to the floor, sobbing with laughter.

Personally, I love the complete non-sequiters. That's the reason I game, and coincidentally, how I write. Roleplaying is ultimately just a bunch of goofs seated around a table; (or posting sporadically over the Internet until the GM forgets about the PBeM game for the tenth time in a row dammit.) if I was interested more in rules, I'd be wargaming. (But apparently, I'm the only person in the whole Midwestern America who still wants to play GDW's Third World War series.) I feel bad about this. I always have. When I GM, I play fast and loose with the rules. I'm arbitrary. I make snap judgments based on what I think will be funny. When I'm a player, I'm a rules lawyer. I memorize obscure passages. I insist on optional combat rules. To put it another way, for me, the rules are a vehicle that can be driven in two very different ways to the same destination. I suppose that my GMing style is a reaction to my playing style; the crap I try to pull as a player is the sort of stuff that never works for the PCs when I'm the GM. Hypocritical? Yes. Effective? Sure!

The players blundered onwards, discovering another secret room, this one containing ancient shattered wine casks and the decaying corpse of a halfling thief from another adventuring party, which, unbeknownst to them, is also engaged in clearing out the dungeon. Seth stole the poor dead bastard's belt buckle and pantsed him, and a disgusted and disturbed Erich lead the party away hastily.

Erich now determined to measure the corridors of the dungeon (which, thanks to the limitations of graph paper, tend to consist of straight lines or abrupt 90-degree turns) using his trusty donkey as a measuring device. Things went south, and the donkey went vertical, when the party stumbled upon a rather baroque pit trap consisting of a single immense teak spike that went through the donkey like a Spitfire through Heinkels. (Ten extra credit points to whoever catches that reference, by the way.) Fortunately for Erich, he had both a potion of levitation and an animate dead spell that enabled him to both cart the party over the trap and temporarily keep his donkey in fighting trim.

It was now eleven, and we all had work the next day, so we dispersed.

Erich will be in Texas for the next two weeks; we meet at his house, so God alone knows what we'll do in the meantime. Watch this space for exciting adventures and/or filler columns!

Seth Tried To Take The Quotes Tonight But His Little Hands Weren't Fast Enough:

Erich: Always a bridesmaid, never a groom.

Erich (an Eddie Izzard fan): Ich bin ein hamburger!
Laura (introduced Erich to Izzard): Ich bin ein frankfurter!
Seth (likes the '80s): Ich bin ein luftballoon!

Seth: I can't recode quartz, er, record quotes."

Seth: So you're...chaotic good?
Ed: More...apathetic good.

Seth (catches a throwaway remark made by the GM): Bullet...whoa, whoa, whoa! Add a "t" and an "e" on the end of there!

Ed (discussing elf-crossbreeds): Ah, did I say "half-elk"?

Laura: Are you smarter than me?
Erich: No. However, I am much, much better looking.

Erich (has been launched into another room while inspecting a secret door, unbeknownst to Seth and Laura): Hey! Pay attention! Something important happened!

Erich (running out of map): Apparently, there's a binder hole in the middle of the room.

Seth (on suicide with a magic missile): It unerringly strikes your uvula.

Ed (to Erich): You know, your character is getting more and more like Madonna.
Seth: Run, Guy Ritchie! Run!

Ed (to Erich): What's the duration of [your spell]?
Seth: Well, it's N plus four rounds, where N is any number that you like.

Seth: So Luvia's backstory is true? He really used to be a badass?
Ed: Well...yes. But the part where he was blinded by jacks, I made up.

Laura: Let's give him a decent burial.
Erich: He's been PANTSED!

Seth: Alright, I'm not going to throw the goat ten feet. That would be weird.

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