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The Void (and Session 25-27)

May 19, 2011

Good lord.  You know what’s hard to do during a semester of grad school? Play D&D. You know what’s harder than that?  Blogging about it.

So, four months later and I’ve played, oh, let’s say twice.  I know it was more than once, and it may have been as much as three times, but I’m going to stick with twice. Oh wait, no, it was three times. Definitely.  Because  I forgot about the thing and guy and killing and the death.

It’s just, Jesus. Obviously, my writing is the priority, after family, and really, D&D is way low on my list of stuff that has to get done, so really, I should be pleased that I’ve managed to do two sessions this spring.

Last time I posted, I was moaning about not having the resolve to kill off a player character that by all rights should have died.  And you know what I figured out? It doesn’t matter a goddamned bit that I didn’t. Oh, maybe it undercut the dramatic climax of that particular session, but D&D is a game that goes on past those moments anyway.  The next time we played, the players weren’t sneering at my pulled punch or anything, they just played. In fact, as they planned and plotted on how they were going to escape from Sylvester of the Yellow Robe’s machinations, I realized that they were pretty much as invested as a group of players could be in the scenario, so I really shouldn’t get too hung up on this stuff.

Besides, I killed that sonufabitch the next time anyway.

See, the PCs made the mistake of trying to flee certain death by running down the main road.  And like any good teleporting wizard hell-bent on a scorched earth revenge, Big Bad Yellow Robe had an ambush ready to go, one that I’d worked out the week before.  There was fire and screaming and a last second escape.  It was awesome, and it just so happened that the guy who’d escaped death in the previous session found himself cornered yet again.

This is where it kind of gets interesting. If you’ll remember from the previous session, it was in precisely in this circumstance that my DM hand had quavered before. That time, when I should have killed him, I instead had Yellow Robe polymorph him into a frog, a circumstance that only lasted until the next dispel magic spell.  This time, as Yellow Robe raised his luminescent hands, I faced the same choice.

So I had Yellow Robe polymorph the cleric into a frog again, but this time he scooped the cleric up and stuck him in his pocket. A subtle difference, but an important one.

Now here’s the best part.  The froggy cleric soon found himself facing an important choice of his own.  He was afforded an opportunity to escape after Yellow Robe had hunted down another member of the party (the fighter) and had him backed up against rushing River Thrax.  Yellow Robe was sure to kill the fighter, and then take the dreaded Concrodia Infernalis (the current Macguffin), ensuring destruction of… well, all the normal things that get destructed, BUT the frog-cleric could use the tension filled moment to make his escape from the wizard’s unguarded pocket!  And he did!

But instead of fleeing, he crept up the wizard’s robe, positioned himself just-so on his shoulder and waited.  When he saw the fighter preparing to make one last, desperate stab at the nearly invincible spell caster, the frog-cleric leapt!  And hit Yellow Robe square on the nose!  Disctracting him!  Just long enough!  For the fighter’s blow to connect!  Piercing through Yellow Robe’s chest!

The wizard fell to the ground, and managed with his last breath (and hit point!) to whisper his teleport spell and he was gone.

And alas, the noble frog was gone, too, disappeared to Yellow Robe’s tower, removed from the almost-dead wizard’s body and placed into a jar, with a few blades of grass and some crickets, by one of his evil servants.

Kind of neat, eh?  I mean, the way that one session’s “failure of resolve” can set the stage for a pretty dramatic and satisfying episode later on down the road.  True, the cleric is still not dead, but he is out of the game for the foreseeable future, and I love, love the way that his fate was based on a precedent that I had only recently lamented as a terrible mistake.  Perhaps that’s a lesson:  There aren’t really any mistakes in this game, just story developments that you didn’t expect.

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