Anyway, for last week's D&D game I decided I wanted to do two things differently. First, I wanted to send the PCs on a little political mission, as opposed to the almost pure dungeoncrawling we normally do. I've been working hard on this faux-Brit milieu and by Grodd I'm going to get a little use out of it. Though if they had turned down the mission I brought dungeons to loot as well. I like to start the evening by proposing an adventure, rather than declaring one, you dig? So the Sir Ger de Lucran, Sheriff of Granta (realworld Cambridgeshire), hits the PCs up to put the kibosh on some bandits based in the hamlet of Crickenglade, just over the shire border.
The other thing I wanted to do was try some real-world casting for the NPCs. So I described Sir Ger as being played by Tom Skerritt. I was mostly thinking of the pain-in-the-ass Senator he played in a couple episodes of the West Wing and the good ol' boy dad in Steel Magnolias, but if the players thought of him more as the flight instructor in Top Gun that would work as well.
The leader of the bandits was Sir William of Dover, a real historical dude who actually was a pain in the ass for the people of Cambridgeshire during the Anarchy. I don't think the real Bill Dover looked anything like an over-the-hill and out-of-control David Lee Roth, though. For some reason I decided that Sir William was once a really kickass dude and a pretty decent bard, but now he subsists on his own hype. Diamond Dave popped into my head unbidden.
If you look in Holmes Basic and the original Monster Manual, you'll find that bandits have a pretty decent chance of having an honest-to-goodness name level Wizard in the gang. The dice said that David Lee Roth did indeed have an MU11 on his team, so of course it had to be...
ADONIS TIGERBLOOD, VATICAN ASSASSIN WARLOCK!
If at this point who have no idea what the butt I am talking about, consider yourself lucky. But if you are in the loop re: Charlie Sheen's recent "tiger blood, Adonis DNA" rant and you haven't made a character named Adonis Tigerblood, then get with the program, dude. The universe handed you a freebie.
Also, I had cast Dennis Franz as a no-nonsense knightly son-of-a-bitch, but he ended up never appearing on screen.
So the players managed to get a little bit of intel on Sir William and sneak into his hall during mealtime with the banditos. Sir Jean Claude the Paladin decides to try to take Adonis Tigerblood via subterfuge and screws the pooch, triggering a general fracas in William of Dover's mead hall. Ostensibly, Jean Claude went after Adonis under the standard "kill the wizard first" protocol, but I like to think his actual motivation was a refusal to give up his #1 Douchebag in the Campaign status to a mere NPC. Seriously, that guy sucks in all the right ways.
Things could have gone completely pear-shaped for the party at that point, but Charles' new three-eyed changeling rolled a natural 20 to spear Charlie Sheen right through the heart. I was sad I didn't get an opportunity for Adonis Tigerblood to cast any of his totally effed up high level spells (I've ditched all standard spells after level 3), but pretty much all NPCs are equal in the eyes of my crit rules. Though I supposed that given that I'm shooting for a historical campaign, I might give two or three people (King Stephen, Empress Maud, etc) a saving throw against instant death.
So Adonis was stabbed in the heart while a couple of PCs sliced and diced Sir William, who at one point was fighting with one hand and holding his innards inside with another. Wheels' new changeling (who is basically Fezzik from Princess Bride as a descendant of the Nephilim) scares the blue bejeesus out of several bandits pretty much by standing up straight and saying 'Boo!' One of the bandits who actually likes Adonis Tigerblood tries to save the wizard, but Jean Claude's pet Saracen, Ermlaf the Mage, takes the lethal blow intended for his master.
After a few rounds of intense combat the only people not dead or fleeing are the PCs and we're out of time, so next session will begin with looting the crap out of the bandit stronghold. Maybe the party will even get a chance to figure out that the "bandit lord" they just iced was actually a loyal vassal of Empress Maud's stepbrother...