Sunday, December 21, 2014

R.I.P. Bad Ray

Bad Ray (Layth) is dead. A mage who thought he was a ninja has met his untimely end been stabbed through the fucking brain by his dear friend Kevin Bacon (Kelly).

Grant wanted to DM a couple days ago, which was cool because A)I never get to play and B)he was running my weird patched-together ruleset and I was curious how it would turn out. I explained the game in as few words as possible to Keiran (Grant’s boss, who was cool enough to let us play in his store) while Grant mapped out a cave complex. “Everyone around knows the legend of this pirate lord that died with his treasure at the bottom of a cave system somewhere in the area. There’s also something in the legend about zombies or vampires or something. You guys met some old drunk at the bar the other night with a map showing the cave’s location.” Fuck it, let’s do this.

I've never seen a more trustworthy face.
Nikolai Stroganoff the bow-toting mage (me) accompanied Bad Ray and John Doe (Keiran) into the cave, where we almost immediately stumbled upon a time worn and dust covered message engraved in the rock wall. It was a riddle, something along the lines of “I’m round but not always around, sometimes light and sometimes dark…” and then something else but it was obviously the moon at that point. Saying this out loud opened a secret room with loot, armor, and a nifty anti-magic shield. The next passage we took was a gradually narrowing incline spiralling downward.

Grant: “Okay, at this point you guys are pretty much crawling…”
Me: “Fuck that, we’re turning around.”
Layth: “What? No, we gotta keep going.”
Me: “Well we can find another way, I’m not crawling down there.”
Keiran: “Oh you don’t wanna crawl around? Ha! Weren’t you in the army?”
Me: “Yeah, I was. That’s how I know not to go in there. Have fun, guys.”

They triggered a pressure plate that released four spiders the size of cats from a hydraulic cage,* which added to my smugness from the moon riddle treasure. Hubris will probably be Nikolai’s downfall in the end. Bad Ray was prepared, though, with a glue spell that made the critters helpless while he shis kabobed them with his signature katana. Nothing else was down there, but Bad Ray made the most of it, filling an empty jar with venom glands.

The next large cave chamber we explored had a stream running through it, at the bottom of a steep and magically slippery incline, which we fell down, dropping our weapons. Then we almost drowned in the stream, which let out into a huge cave with an underground lake, beach, jungle, and even something that looked very much like the sun. John Doe and Bad Ray pulled Nikolai’s unconscious body onto the beach. J.D. opted to rest on the beach with Nikolai while Bad Ray wandered into the jungle, where he stumbled into a clearing with a deer.

Not one to be discouraged by the fact that he’d gone hunting without any weapons, Bad Ray quickly made a molotov cocktail and threw it at the deer, which disintegrated into glowing pixie dust or something as the jar passed through it. Ray caught a glimpse of some sort of bipedal lizard monster hiding in the bushes. Realizing that he was basically defenseless, our intrepid adventurer cast a fear spell at the thing and it ran away in terror. Reality kind of flickered when the creature panicked, in a way that confirmed our suspicions that everything in this cavern was an illusion. Bad Ray made it back to the beach without any further distractions.

At this point Ashley picked me up so we could go eat. We started the game back up an hour later without Keiran, when Grant, Kelly and Layth came over. There are some D&D groups that would be bothered by that sort of incoherence but they don’t seem to have any problem with nonsensical combat mechanics so I feel like we’re basically even.

As Nikolai and Bad Ray finished resting, Molly (Ashley) and Kevin Bacon came running out of the woodline, with four jaguars hot on their tail. We beat them, but used like four of our spells to do it, so we elected to rest again to increase our chances of survival. Of course, this led to us being attacked by yet another group of jaguars, and this time we started combat with hardly any spells left. At this point the odds were that there wouldn’t be another random encounter, so we risked resting again, this time uneventfully.

This is when I guess Grant got tired of us just hanging out there doing nothing, and decided that whatever was behind all this should take action. We all had to save against fear or run away from the water in terror, into the jungle. Bad Ray made his save, but he was the only one. He glued Molly’s and Kevin Bacon’s feet to the spot, and tripped Nikolai up with his grappling hook & rope. Grant then informed us that the fear effect was likely to last longer than the glue spell, so Ray tried to tie up Kevin and Molly with what was left of the rope. That’s when Kelly decided that Kevin Bacon had fucking had it and killed off the party’s first ever level 3 character.** I seem to remember her rolling a critical hit.

"Don't Fuck With Kevin Bacon"
The best part about being one of two mages in a party is inheriting the other one’s spellbook when he dies (I’ll probably give Layth’s new character the magic cloak I found on B.R.’s corpse because I’m such a nice guy, though). There’s a couple spells in there that Nikolai can’t even cast yet, but if I can get him back to town, he’s already got enough loot to level up, and I’m pretty sure everyone else does too. Now I just need to get him & his pals out of this cave system alive, preferably in one piece.

So it looks like there’s some mind-control aliens or something hiding out down here and spreading rumors about pirate ghosts Scooby-Doo style, unless the pirates are still alive and acting as cultists or co-conspirators. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. The anti-magic shield should come in handy, unless Grant decides that psionics and magic are two distinctly separate things.

*That’s a pretty technologically advanced trap for what’s supposed to be a dead pirate’s final resting place. I wonder who or what put it there.

**I have zero problems with high mortality rates in my games. Most of my house rules are pretty player friendly, but the game world is not. Your character is not a beautiful snowflake and is not destined for glory, at least not without struggling to barely scrape by as a murderhobo first. If you make it to third level, you’re beating the odds. That’s why it’s crucial for me that character creation take a drunk person no more than fifteen minutes.

Also my players die a lot because we get pretty wasted sometimes and they make silly decisions. Which might be my favorite part of the game.

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