All of them, Bus, Neverwas, Poot, Thief 1 and 2, Laughing Boy, Kid Icarus, Genius, Mamma's Boy and Baby Momma, had been waiting on the BIG adventure to start. The Opportunist was getting ready to run the World's Largest Dungeon. He had picked this group deliberately avoiding the most dangerous coalition of our gaming community.
That isn't to say that the other players weren't good players. In truth Thief 1 and 2 were, on occasion, very good players but they were easily frustrated and rarely played well with anyone else. The Genius was a quick study but he had to learn the hard way before he got the story right. Laughing Boy and Momma's Boy were too concerned with proving how unique and wonderful they were to remember to take care of the group. The Bus was a good player; however, at the time he was into a really idiosyncratic wizard that he took from campaign to campaign and remade time and again no matter how often the silly thing died. The Neverwas could talk a good game, and dominate a game when there were subordinate personalities, but to follow anything he said was sure to result in your having to roll up a new character. Baby Mamma had just learned to play; she would later become quite good but at that time not so much. That left Poot and Kid Icarus as the only viable faction in the group.
They were a part of our group. Poot was a hell of a warrior, a damned fine wizard, and in a pinch could be a fashionable rogue. Kid Icarus favored druids and inventive solutions to everyday problems. He was our outside man and thought of the solution to problems that the rest of us had not time or inclination to find: in a word he was indispensable to any overwhelming situation. The Master Planner ran a ranger and could hit any target from three different directions before they knew what was happening. Step-up was the rogue - not a rogue, the rogue. He ran his rogues with an almost preternatural ability to find every trap and every hidden enemy, and on more than one occasion he had saved our entire group. Biggboy was either a barbarian who enjoyed standing at the front, or the best healing cleric I've ever had the pleasure of grouping with. Then there was me, I played either the fighter who held the line or a cleric that protected the flank. When we were together there were few situations that could slow our group and we had worked together for long enough that we never had those awkward inter-party breakups that plague newer groupings.
The Master Planner, Step-up, Biggboy, and I were left off the invite list. This was done, as the Opportunist would later tell me, "Because I really wanted to explore the dynamics within a dysfunctional group when confronted with a killer dungeon."
"I'm assuming since they each went through five characters the first night that you found your answer."
"And the reason we can't play?"
"Well, I'd invite you guys but it would really throw off the dynamic I'm looking for. And the group is really starting to develop this synergy that only comes about through these sort of intense emotional situations."
Like my time trying to join in with the World's Largest Dungeon reading the Book of Exalted Deeds has been a bit like tilting at windmills. I could never get into the game and the Book of Exalted Deeds just frustrated the hell out of me.
I grew frustrated with the first five pages and would throw the damnable thing across the room unwilling to waste my time with the fucked logic and untenable moral positions that it would have me and my players put ourselves in. Yet seeing as how I've actually spent the time reading the Book of Vile Darkness I might as well read this companion volume.
Maybe it'll be better than its brother, but fuck if I can see how.