The continuing adventures of Ed vs. Jasmine. There are many important “rules” to DMing; one really important one is “know what your players are capable of.” Ed couldn’t seem to remember that rule.
The party had gotten pretty cocky by this time and Ed was once again determined to put us in our place. Which, as I explained before, means he wanted us all dead. I won’t go into the fact that eight mummies appeared pretty much out of the middle of nowhere (oops, I think I just did), because Jasmine quickly dispatched them with a Turn Undead roll. The mummies shuffled off back to wherever they came from, while Ed shot more daggers from his eyes. The group set up camp for the night, quickly forgetting about the mummies. We were woken up in the middle of the night by Jay’s character “Tark” (we still haven’t stopped teasing him about that name) yelling that the mummies were back. Seems that when they got back to their lair, the donned Amulets of Proof Against Turning and, the turning effect dispelled, they returned to get us. Guess they forgot them the first time they ventured out after us. Try finding the “Amulet of Proof Against Turning” in the second edition DMG. Here’s a hint: there’s no such item.
Turned out that Ed should have picked something tougher than mummies because we took them out with little difficulty. The fight lead to two other very funny moments, though. The first was during the fight, when Kevin’s character “Maria” cast expand on the bandages of one of the mummies and turned it into a giant puffball. A giant, flammable puffball. The second was after the fight. One of the mummies had scored a hit on Jasmine. The touch of a mummy rots organic material; fortunately, Jasmine was wearing plate mail armour. So Ed ruled that it rotted the undergarments and padding under the armour. Whatever. After the battle, Ed asked us each what our characters were doing. Maria was poking through the remains for valuables. Tark was scanning for other attackers. Ken’s character, whose name escapes me, was praying for thanks (the character was a home-made Wicca class). “And what’s Jasmine doing?” asked Ed. “Chafing,” I replied with a straight face. It was another of those brief pauses where everyone stops to think about what was just said. The pause was quickly followed by everyone, even Ed, breaking out in gales of laughter.
There are three kinds of DMs: good ones, ones who will be good in time, and ones who will spend their lives sucking eggs. Ed falls into the latter category. Ed was one of those DMs who counted his success by the number of characters he killed. Especially the ones he decided he didn’t like. There’s nothing wrong with killing characters every now and then, but the DM shouldn’t be gunning for them!
So there I was, on my third character of the campaign. (Ed didn’t like the first two, a fire elementalist and a saurial paladin.) Jasmine was a Lady of Mystery in the Forgotten Realms (Lady of Mystery is the formal title for a priestess of Mystra). Now, the Realms have what are known as dead magic and wild magic zones. In dead magic zones, no magic functions. In wild magic zones, magic goes nuts. Except for worshippers of Mystra, who are immune to these effects. Jasmine and the party were going through a pretty standard dungeon crawl when they came upon a room that practically screamed TRAP!!! So, I had Jasmine cast a “detect traps” spell. “It doesn’t work,” was Ed’s answer. “Dead magic zone?” I asked, to which Ed replied with a nod. “That’s nice,” I said, “I’m a priestess of Mystra. Dead magic zones don’t affect me. Is it a trap or not?” Ed shot daggers at me with his eyes while replying in the affirmative. A few moments later, after some quick work from the party thief, we were merrily on our way past Ed’s party-killing trap.
Steph is a fairly bright girl, but sometimes…
There’s an adventure in one of the original Palladium RPG books called “The Tombs of Gersidi” or something like that. One of the rooms that the party had to get into was guarded by an old hag that couldn’t be killed, tricked or otherwise removed from the equation. She would only let the party through if one of the characters gave up a bone. From their body. Now, the hag could have simply and painlessly removed an unnecessary bone, like a man’s Adam’s rib or a small toe bone. But Steph didn’t wait to find this out. Instead, her character (admittedly not a very stable person) pulled out a knife, hacked off a finger, and handed it to the hag.
This was almost an RPG-related homicide. Ian was DM-ing his first Dragonlance game and two of the most powerful PCs were Kale (Jason) and Kemcni (Havok). Kale was a barbarian who found the Bloodstone of Fistandantilus and became an evil mage after being corrupted by it, while Kemcni (pronounced keh-mek-nee) was a kender who followed a similar path (by liberally “borrowing” the Bloodstone from Kale), a couple of levels behind. Kemcni got hold of a ring of three wishes with only one wish left. “I wish I was as powerful as Kale,” were the words that left Havok’s mouth. The rest of the (basically good-aligned) group groaned: the last thing we wanted around was another Kale. Ian smiled, turned to Jason and said, “Okay Kale, you are now the same level as Kemcni.” There was a moment of silence while everyone slowly realized just how badly Havok had screwed Jason over. (Unintentionally. Havok, of course, actually wanted his level raised to match Kale’s.) The session stopped cold while everybody burst out in laughter, except Jason, who just kind of sat there, fingering his pencil and staring at his hard-won levels.