Thursday, July 29, 2010

weirdest death in recent memory

So last night Loric the Bard, Kelgar the Dwarf and the two junior magic-users Orlen and Bob visited the Dungeon of the Unknown (i.e. the dungeon I have located at the Cave of the Unknown on the wilderness map for the Keep on the Borderlands).  They pondered some minotaur poop, visited the halfling political agitators for the Chaos Party (who foisted some lapel buttons and pamphlets upon them) and fought a quick pair of battles with an ogre and a ghoul.

They then entered a 50' by 40' room pretty much identical to the lairs of the chaos halflings, ogre and ghoul but strewn with wrecked furniture and filth.  So of course they start sifting through this stuff.  Some day I really ought to put a dumpster full of garbage in a dungeon, just to see whether anybody would look for treasure in it.  Anyway, they find on the north wall, opposite where they came in, a tiny door.  It looks just like the other doors they've seen so far in this dungeon, but it's only 6 inches high or so and a couple inches wide, with a teeny-tiny door knob.  One PC inquires if there are any cakes or vials labeled 'drink me' laying about and I reply in the negative.

Orlen the Magic-User (played by Nick, who just joined this session) tries to open the door, figuring even though his wizard is a Str 8 wimp, he ought to be able to open the world's tiniest secret door.  Here's the breakdown of the die rolls I force upon Nick:

1-5  Door opens.  Of course it opens.  It's like a friggin' dollhouse door, for cryin' out loud.
6 Roll again, you putz, and see below
       1-3 Door opens despite blowing the previous roll
       4-6 Door is still stuck and you totally suck

So Nick rolls a 6 then a 5, utterly humiliating Orlen in front of his new adventuring buddies.  Kelgar is sickened by this display of weakness and frustrated by the time Orlen has wasted attempting to open the damn thing, so he waltzes over to the door and kicks it in.  Immediately the southern door (where the party came in) smashes open, with the titanic toe of a titanic boot thrusting through the opening.  Kelgar spins around to battle a hugeass giant then realizes a second later that was his toe he saw smashing through the southern door.  Bob's player completely freaks out at the non-Euclidean geometry of the situation.

Let me take you into the mind of the DM for just a moment.  When I built this little trap I had great hopes of poking out the eye of one of the PCs.  They open the tiny door and peer in the mousehole.  I then tell one of the other PCs that the south door has opened and a giant eye monster is glaring balefully at them.  The second PC overreacts and pokes the first guy's eye out.  And a good time was had by all.  The end.  Instead, I manage to doom two PCs with this little magic door.

Though I suppose you could blame Carl instead of me.  It was his PC who wanted to see what would happen if he casually flicked a gold piece into the opening of the tiny door.  Of course the result was that a giant gold coin, the size of wagon wheel, came flying out of the southern door, careening about the room wildly.  Saving throws are rolled and before the titanic shiny disc comes to a rest it pulps Loric and Orlen.  I honestly hadn't seen that one coming.

Kelgar immediately strips Loric of all his cool gear and then tries to figure out how to get the world's largest GP out of the dungeon.  Given the size and weight involved, I am utterly unconvinced he can move it at all.  Eventually the two survivors settle on carving off the biggest hunk of gold they can each carry and putting it in their backpacks.  Of course when they exit the room the shavings from the coin shrink back down to normal size, adding sprinkles of utter futility to the sundae made out two scoops of PC death.

Carl and Nick are good sports are start whipping up some new PCs.  At this point I discover much to my dismay that sometime since last session I have misplaced the Deck O' Stuff, so I can't give them random custom goodies like I normally do.  But I do find index cards with the stats for a white ape and a grizzly bear written on them, so the replacement PCs each get a pet for no apparent reason.  Carl names his gorilla buddy Edgar and later gets him equipped with a kickass magic sword and some oversized chainmail stolen from the corpse of a larger-than-usual orc.


  1. That sounds like a deleted scene from Time Bandits. Awesome!

  2. Hilariously awesome! Your dungeon stuff really cracks me up.

  3. Brilliant! Stories like this remind me why I love D&D so much. :D

    (Word verification: "dicsn" - that's what she said. :p)

  4. The best players take a DM's cute little ideas and make them deadly as hell!

  5. I have misplaced the Deck O' Stuff, so I can't give them random custom goodies like I normally do. But I do find index cards with the stats for a white ape and a grizzly bear written on them, so the replacement PCs each get a pet for no apparent reason.

    Brilliant. You are the MacGyver of gaming.

  6. Anonymous2:38 PM

    Argh! Get out of my head!

    I am working on an article involving a dungeon & tesseracts, wherein certain Escheresque incidents such as this could happen!

    Brilliantly DM'd!


  7. boyoboy, does this make me want to drive down to Shampoo-Banana to game with you...

  8. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Too funny.


  9. I can see some interesting ways to exploit that if you can lure monsters into the room... lure in creatures, take out Wand of Magic Missiles (or just cast the spell) through the hole... super-size magic missiles! (Or, heck, almost any other spell, though I'd be really cautious about AOE spells like fireballs... hell, this might just be a use for Burning Hands!

    Not to mention sending your familiar through after you lure the monsters in. "Go for the eyes, Boo!"

  10. As a player, I'd return to this room with some investors and scam some gold for my magic "giant gold coin dispenser".

  11. I am so joining the Chaos Party.

  12. Wonderful ! As a reward, I've tabelized your deck o stuff.
    Now you need never worry about forgetting it.....;)
    D66 The Deck of Stuff

    11 long-stemmed pipe & pouch of pipeweed
    12 small flask of poison
    13 polar bear fur cloak
    14 large jug of potent wine
    15 oracular skull: answers a single yes/no question 1/day
    16 dungeon dog: Ac 7, HD 2, well trained, very loyal
    21 2 ninja smokebombs
    22 first aid kit (6 uses)
    23 2 vials of holy water
    24 sprig of wolvesbane
    25 mandolin
    26 5 silver arrows
    31 3 men-at-arms with chain, shield, spear, sword
    32 steel crowbar
    33 2 blessed crossbow bolts
    34 small sack containing 30 fake gp (thin gold plated over lead)
    35 bag containing 12 caltrops
    36 whistle
    41 2 orcs-at-arms with chain, shield, sword, shortbow
    42 henchman: roll 1st level PC as quickly as possible!
    43 75' spider-silk rope & iron grappling hook
    44 11' wooden pole
    45 silver dagger
    46 6 cigars
    51 30' coil of copper wire
    52 12 small candles
    53 small bag of Monster Chow™
    54 rowan shield

    55 partial dungeon map
    56 piece of chalk
    61 compass
    62 5' steel pole
    63 500' ball of string
    64 1 tin of moustache wax
    65 1 Holy Hand Grenade
    66 wedge of very stinky cheese
    Special tiny vial containing 3 angel tears

    I'd give the angel tears to the most emo - ie first player who can name all of Nirvana's albums with Cobain.

  13. Amazing! These games remind me of how creative people can be. More monsters, we need more monsters to kill.

    James Dean 3 Red Light and PS3 Light Fix Scam

  14. A previous campaign of mine had a bard named Loric.

    ...he was also a king, and the first known half-elf... and his death was several hundred years before the campaign started...and was a bit more dignified...

  15. That may be the finest trick room I have ever heard of. That's brilliant. I so wish I had thought of it.

    I can, however, do the next best thing, which is steal it.

  16. if you're wondering--Connie immediately shot a crossbow bolt into the little door.