The next day began with a major equipment failure at work, four hours of fighting with one of our suppliers on the phone, and me skipping breakfast and lunch. Suffice it to say that when I joined everyone at the local China Hut for dinner at five I was in a dark mood fit for the evening's task. Poot was already lining things up with his effortless charm that could get a nun to eat a lemon through a fence post. "We're looking at an uphill climb tonight," he was telling them as I started munching on my General Tso's. "Little E's been running his mouth off and Charlie had to pick this fight to get us invited to play."
"You guys weren't already invited?" Neverwas interjected.
"No, they weren't," answered Kid Icarus. "Little E's been trying to control who comes into the game by allowing most everyone but you guys to play."
"Why wouldn't he want us to play," Biggboy asked.
Because we don't play the game right. They all looked at me after I said it, as though in staring at me they could make it untrue. Listen, most everyone at this table - except for Icarus and Neverwas - has played in one of his games in the past and scrambled everything. Poot killed four of his prized NPCs, Step-up never dies, and Biggboy threatened to break his neck after he took liberties with his character.
"What did he do to your character?"
"He tried to rape him while he was sleeping."
The point is, I broke in, that we don't play the way he wants. We kill his NPCs, loot his treasure hordes, and rescue the dragons. He doesn't know how to deal with people who play like that.
"That's not how I play," Neverwas opined. "If you guys would stop screwing around he might want to play with you more often."
"Fuck him," said Step-up. "He's a recidivist looking for the next piece of under-aged tail who'll part her legs for him. I'm not playing by his rules and if it wasn't for Poot asking me to join I wouldn't be playing in this bullshit now."
"Which brings me back to the point of this pre-game meeting," Poot broke in, "we need a strategy to deal with what's coming. He doesn't like most of us, is scared of some of us, and likely wants to end this game as fast as possible. How do we turn that on it's head?"
"From what I've been hearing," Kid Icarus said, "it looks like all he's throwing are Darkmantles and stirges."
That doesn't seem like the sort of monsters that should be killing everything that enters that dungeon?
"I got it from Baby Momma," Poot confirmed. "According to her there weren't any traps in the first two rooms but room three had a trap."
How many were playing in her group.
What? Everyone was staring at him.
"She was one of sixteen and everyone had lost their first character by the time they had made it to room four. They had a TPK in room six and stopped at that point."
"Six rooms and a TPK," Step-up muttered. "With just darkmantles and stirges? If he's running it by the book like he claims it doesn't make sense."
"Templates," Kid Icarus said, "he's using templates. I got a look at the book while they were playing last night and he's using a Fiendish template to make them more dangerous."
What do we know about the Fiendish template?
"Not really much too it," Icarus responded, "they're resistant to cold and fire. Oh, and they get a smite good ability."
"Then we'll play evil," Poot boomed!
He'll just change them to Celestial. No, the key is for us to be Neutral on the Good / Evil axis with a full range on the Law / Chaos side of things.
"Fair enough," said Poot. "How's our mix of races?"
"Human," said Kid Icarus.
"Same," answered Step-up.
"I'm playing a Halfling," Neverwas announced, "I thought about going with a gnome, but they're really just a bad idea in every way."
"I'm playing a Gnome Fighter and you can choke on my tiny, gnomish dick," Poot countered.
"Just ask and my Half-orc Barb will hold that bitch down," chimed in Biggboy.
"Looks like we've got enough of a mix that we won't get stopped by any of those racial specific attacks," Poot continued.
"You don't think he'll try to pull that shit with us, do you?" Neverwas asked.
"Maybe not this early, but the goal is to make it through the first level. That means he'll be pulling it on us. He's done it in every campaign I've ever played with him."
"So how are we going to ensure we've got enough light," Step-up interjected.
My guess is that he'll have light sources present in there, but it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't. My plan is to pick up a hireling and load him with a lantern and enough oil to make him blow up like the Fourth of July.
"I don't think he allows hirelings," Neverwas broke in, "I certainly never do."
And that's reason 1,276 that you're a terrible Dungeon Master.
"Like you've got that many reasons!"
I do. I've got a notebook filled with reasons why you suck. I've also got one that I use to keep track of every time you tell a lie.
"The fuck you do."
"I thought so."
I've got three of them.
"Guys," Poot broke in, "let's keep it civil. We need to make it through door number three without anyone dying to win the bet."
"What bet?" Neverwas asked.
The one where he said that it would be a cold day in hell before any team we were on would make it past the third room. That got their attention.
"What do you mean any team we were on?" Step-up asked.
When I called him last night to arrange the game he said that none of us - me, you Poot, Kid Icarus, Biggboy, Neverwas - none of us could make it past room three. So I made a bet that we would.
"How much," Kid Icarus asked.
"Were you drunk," asked Biggboy.
"Seriously, dude, you know rocks fall everyone dies isn't just something that happens on the interent," he continued. "There's no way you're going to keep him from doing that. Look, I'm all for fucking up his world but if you've got a plan to stop that from happening I'd love to hear it."
I've got an impartial judge lined up. The silence stretched for a full minute as they digested the idea. Then Poot broke it. "Who wants to piss on him more than us?"
"Alright then," Poot said, "we've got a shot. Now about that light problem, I think I've got a solution."
Click here to read Part 3:
Words of Wisdom and Hints of Dissension
Words of Wisdom and Hints of Dissension
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