Saturday, March 03, 2007

My own personal clay golem

Remember all those old figures I showed earlier in the week? I got 'em all primed and started painting last night. So far I've only finished the clay golem.

I know he's not much to look at, but he's all mine. (In the background you can see my Demogorgon figure. I didn't paint him. He came that way. That dude is awesome.)

Painting up that golem reminded me of a great encounter with a clay golem from back in the mid 90's. It was in my old Bandit Kingdoms campaign, a 1st edition/2nd edition hybrid game featuring my friend Pat as the bard/mage Doctor (later Baron) Phostarius and guest-starring whoever else showed up that week. One of the other regulars for a long time was Ray St. John. That guy was wacky fun at the table. Ray played Sir Cleave, Doc Phostarius' half-drow half-brother. Cleave was a cavalier and we used the 1st edition Unearthed Arcana version of that class. Man, was that class over the top. Way more powerful than a standard fighter.

If I remember correctly I think they fought the clay golem in the invisible step pyramid composed of solidified elemental air. It was an upside down dungeon full of lawful good critters. Most of the PCs in this campaign leanded chaotic and/or evil, so a dungeon with halflings on level one and dwarves on level two was right up their alley.

So anyway, they end up throwing down with a clay golem. This was back before the adoption of Damage Reduction. Many more creatures were totally immune to various attacks in pre-3E D&D. In those days the only physical attacks that could hurt a clay golem were magical blunt weapons. They were completely immune to anything with an edge or point. Good ol' Sir Cleave doesn't realize this fact. I'm sure Ray had fought a clay golem before, he had been playing D&D since almost the beginning of the hobby. But he apparently didn't recall this special immunity.

Poor sucker goes after the golem with his ubermagical longsword. I don't recall exactly what kind of enchantment was on the blade, but it was something hardcore like +5 or vorpal. I've used some sort of critical system in pretty much every D&D game I've ran going back at least until 1989, and Sir Cleave scores a crit against the monster with this magic sword that it is totally immune to.

I think the record will show that I'm pretty pro-player when I'm behind the screen. I don't usually bend the rules except in the favor of the people at the table who don't wield absolute power. But something about this particular situation really spoke to me. And what it was saying was "hose over Cleave". Without really thinking about it I declared his wondersword to be completely shattered against the golem's clayey hide. You should have seen the look on Ray's face.

Was that dickerly of me? Probably so. But the DM sometimes has to be prepared to go above and beyond the mere rules in the search for an awesome gaming experience. And sometimes that awesome can only be found by messing with the players.