Thursday, February 16, 2017

Just Dumb Things, Episode 1?

So this is a quick hit/gamer story about the time we lost an entire party of adventurers because our Dungeon Master didn’t think things through very well.

So to give you a bit of a background, this is the height of 3.5 just before pathfinder takes off.  We’re playing Epic Level Dungeons and Dragons with an almost exclusively arcane spell caster party, because why not.  At the time this story happens, we’re around level 34 and pushing into even higher levels of getting our asses into trouble.  We are rotating dungeon masters, and so far we’ve been having a good time with this.  

Important plot elements:

Using the stronghold builder’s guidebook, I have constructed a magically powered fortress that can both fly, and cross planar boundaries.  This is how we get to the various places we get into trouble.

One of our rotating DMs has imbued every surface and component of said fortress as a “Reward from Spiteful Gods”.

Three of our party members have become magically infused creatures (Green Star Adept, Pale Master, and Alienist), while the non arcane spellcasters (the sensible ones) are dripping magical items.  

I routinely play my Epic Level Cohort Warforged fighter thing while my wizard quietly researches some new arcane device.  

The Setup:  

The wizards are in the library and are trying to figure out how something weird is happening.  (Yep, it’s an episode of Star Trek, and the science/engineers are breaking out their tricorders)  Eventually (about an hour of real time into the session) they figure out that something is bleeding into the ship from an alternate plane of existence.  The boys being clever lads, widen the portal and take the ship into the alternate plane of existence.  

“Well, the planar breach opens, and the ship starts falling from the sky, Your best guess before it hits is that this is a magic dead plane as the breach closes behind you.”  

*Blink Blink”

“But i am a magical construct.”  

“Well you turn back into a human.”  

“But that’s now how my class works, my creature type has changed to construct.”  
“Oh, then you’re dead.”  

*Blink Blink*

The Alienist, the Acolyte of the Skin, and the Green Star Adept all cease to be, and my Warforged warrior ceases to function at the helm of the ship.  This leaves our warrior types stuck inside a ship made of solid gold without any of their magical equipment.  This turns into a two hour exercise in them trying to open solid gold doors that are stupidly heavy with much reduced strength scores.  Eventually they all die trapped inside the library, unable to find food or drink.  

The Session ends, and the players depart, unhappy.

“What exactly was your plan for how this was supposed to go?”

“Well you’d have to use your non-magical abilities to solve problems and escape the plane.”

“But we’re epic level wizards, what would make you think we’d ever consider trying to do that?”

“I guess I didn’t think this through very well.”  

Right after this session, the DM rotated again, and i had got to try and fix this mess of dead characters, ( I did, and i didn’t have to cheat, much) but that’s a different story.  

So what’s the moral of this story?  

There are two ideas that i have taken away from this encounter.

First, if you’re playing with characters that you’ve been playing with for a while, don’t expect them to suddenly change their spots just because you confronted them with an “interesting challenge.”  We were wizards, and tended to solve our problems with FIREBALL to the nose.  Only after we’d exhausted all of our other options would we try and work with other means to accomplish our goals.  

Second, I don’t ever half ass think out an adventure element any more. I try to work in very concrete, easily explainable encounters and dungeon dressing so that I can explain it to others, and they can explain it to each other.  If i don’t have a concrete understanding of how it works in my head, it won’t translate well to others, and confusion tends to kill fun in those circumstances.  

Anyway, that’s a long story short version of the “incident”

Game On, Game Fans

No comments:

Post a Comment