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Hack For More

WEEK 12 : 05/16/04

by Edward McEneely
May 25,2004


Hack For More

WEEK 12 : 05/16/04

Well, once again we met on the weekend, this time because Erich and Seth had late workdays on Thursday. Personally, I hope this isn't a trend, because I had to work this Saturday myself, and was pretty far gone by the time Sunday rolled around. Nonetheless, I had resolved to run a sort of semi-clever themed adventure outside of a dungeon.

It was a fun idea for me personally because it allowed me to worry about only two monster types, the Marauding Kangeroo (which I usually shortened to "angeroo") and the giant, malignant Killwi (huge kiwi bird) that they worshipped at a weird ziggurat. Basically I thought it would offer some sort of fun goofiness.

Of course, here I was falling into the "Fonzie-jumps-the-shark" trap where I try and repeat my sucesses on a larger scale in the same way; the war moose was now a giant flightless bird, which is still pretty gimmicky. Did I say still? I meant "even more gimmicky".

We started slowly, with the PCs pawning some of their magic potions off; Erich gave an apothecary his philtre of lust---with his "frigid" flaw, he didn't understand its effects---and had a few awkward moments after the taste-test before fleeing. Seth's character sold some of his potions as well, despite the language barrier, leading the hapless apothecary to believe a postion of Frost Giant Control was a potion of Plant Control. That will come back to haunt them, I promise.

As the PCs set off for the dungeon, they ran into a massive band of kangaroos who stole Erich's hitherto unmentioned secret journal (created, no doubt, by the mighty gawd MacGuffin), and caused the PCs to beat feet after them in the hopes of retrieving it.

They easily tore through a roadblock of four kung fu fighting kangeroos (can you name at least two movies with Kangaroos skilled in the arts martial? I can.) and proceeded to the ziggurat, their pace (and the adventure's) speeded greatly by a call from Seth's wife, who offered us five bucks if we sent him home soon. We later found out, however, that this was total, not each, and thus were sorely disappointed. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We got a little sidetrackd with sort-of clever bantering, which annoyed Erich, who was hoping to game. He didn't get really mad, but I hate it when people don't have fun, which sort of explains what follows.

The players slaughtered the Killwi (which did had the 20-point kicker, and max HP, as well, in addition to an extra attack per round) with some heavy damage passed around the group in the process, and discovered that the now docile worshippers of the bird had brought it numerous stolen items, including a shortsword of quickness +2, a trident of fish command +1, a +1 dagger, a scroll, and a Fire Wand. The treasurs boosted Seth and Erich a level each, Erich to second, Seth to third.

I am ashamed. Monty Haulism is always a problem in games like this. I rarely worry about it in GURPS (where I usually forget to give EP or any rewards beyond survival and war stories) or most other games (Monty Haul Feng Shui is hard to do, unlike Monty Haul Call of Cthulhu), but usually it isn't so blatant, at least not in RPG.net colums, although I understand it turns up in the forums often enough, although usually as "worst-GM-ever" or "when-I-was-young-and-we-still-colored-dice" anecdotes. It's just plain bad form, though, to give the players way too much, more even than they wanted or expected or needed for an adventure. Hopefully it can be contained for now, to prevent too much escalation, but this will affect the game a fair amount for the forseeable future.

I did this for a reasonable reason: I wanted the players to have fun and not be cranky, which is fine, because although being a GM isn't a popularity contest, it's not about making everyone build character by having a lousy time. (Maybe it is for some people, but they should be beaten.) The problem is more one of game balance, though, in that there's a lot of cool treasure to dole out, and like a World War III boardgame with "optional nuclear exchange rules" once a certain point is passed, there's no going back.

Of course, hopefully I haven't reached that point; we'll see next session, I guess.

Sometimes The Quote List Is Very Short Because Seth's Wife Has Given Us Money:

Seth (in an eerie George Takei voice): Dirty factor nine, captain.

Ed (on being slipped a rufie while gaming): And when I woke up, they'd all gained a level.

Erich: Ed, it's amazing how much you can convey with your mooing.

Erich: That sounds like a good thing, but it's probably a really bad thing.
Seth: What, like a date with Bjork?

Laura (getting on-topic): So...kangaroos...

Omnes (trying to get the Killwi to drink a polymorph potion): Eat the glass bottle, giant bird! Eat...the...glass...bottle!

Seth and Erich (in Crocodile Hunter voices): He's stroppy!

Seth (has been healed by the magic of the Spatula): THAT'S AWESOME! Way to go, Magic Spatula!

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What do you think?

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