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The Saving Throw
Contest Entry Aug. 2, 2006
Gaming moments with multiple endings, but only one is the real ending.

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Don't Piss Off the DM! Part II
  contributed by Carabbit

This is a direct continuation of Don't Piss off the DM! Part I. It also got slightly out-of-hand... okay, really out-of-hand. Anyway, you'd think that after all the trouble we caused him, our dungeon master would have given up by now. But no. You see, he's a very determined individual. And we really had nothing else to do that afternoon. I'm only adding the next two paragraphs as background info for people who did not read part 1; you slackers!

Our intrepid group consists of two rogues: Emmriel, who specializes in picking pockets and stealing hats; and Phynix, who wields a Rod of Wonders to hilarious effect. The monk, Pois, is best described as an accidental tactician. Heron is the charismatic dragon disciple and also the only male of the entire group. Kitty is an unfettered Litorian; for those who don't know the Cookbook, that's a fancy way of saying "giant cat-person fighter-rogue."

Our campaign recently got a new dungeon master, who had a reputation for being extremely tough on PCs. He discovered quite early on that we had power-gamed our characters pretty fantastically. And since our party had been together for so long, we had become extremely well-balanced and cohesive, a quintet of adventurers rightly feared across the face of the land known collectively as "Heron's Harem," for the composition of one guy and four girls, who had been chased out of and declared outlaw in nearly every city they visited. Well, the ones left standing that is.

This is where part 1 comes in. You should really read it, just so you have an idea of what's going on. Last chance!

After the debacle with the Astral Planes, we found ourselves back on the Very Simple plane. More annoying to Emmriel and Kitty, however, was the lost contents of their bags, Emmriel especially since her bag held all of her hats. She hated it so much that they deemed it worthy to use a Wish spell from a ring to undo the whole incident. Our DM house-ruled that as okay, so play went on.

We found ourselves warped back in time to the moment when we found the door to the Very Simple plane. Instead of brashly leaping inside, we instead had Emmriel and Kitty take their precious Bags (including all of Emmriel's hats) and deposit them in our base of operations (something I highly recommend to any parties that stick together for a while) which was actually a lot like a generic final dungeon from an RPG in that you had to go through a lot of pointless traps and side corridors to actually get anywhere. But after returning to and from our base, we opened up the door and hopped in, completely space-time continuum disaster free.

We found ourselves walking in a long, dark hallway. It was about this time that Matt (our DM) decided to send some incorporeal creatures at us, thinking that since none of us were a straight-up spell-casting class that we would have trouble dealing with that which we could not hit with our weapons. And he was mostly right; when the creatures surprised us with nasty strength-stealing touch attacks, we looked at each other, clueless. This made Matt happy as he'd finally gotten the better of us right up until the moment Pois remembered she had a ghost-touch siagham and used a flurry of attacks, rolling the appropriate dice and adding up the damage. Matt summarized, "She destroys them all." And with that, he closed the monster manual. Most PCs think this would be a good sign; however, we knew better than this...


 Which ending is the real one?

A.

...because sometimes DMs are sore losers. We walked along the hallway until we reached another door, a simple wood structure. We opened the door. The door led onto a large, flat, circular platform a hundred feet wide. Beyond the platform was space and darkness, and nothing more. There was no light source, but we could still see plain as day. In the middle of the room stood a man in dark blue robes looking at the floor. As we came across the threshold, still wondering where this fabulous treasure was supposed to be, the man's head snapped up and he began casting spells. He finished his spell and, as our characters blinked, there was suddenly three big and scary creatures towering over us, and one brightly colored prismatic sphere between us and him.

Finally, a real fight.

The big and scary monsters trundled our way. Heron and Kitty immediately engaged them while Phynix flew in the air and prepared to rain destruction down on everything with her Rod of Hideous Doom. Emmriel, in typical rogue fashion, hung back waiting to strike. Pois used her high tumble and movement rates to get around the three monsters. The next turn, the wizard's meat shields took chunks out of our characters. Heron (who can do 11d6 + 106 dmg in one turn) and Kitty (has more attacks than dice) returned the favor, with a little help thrown in from a flanking Emmriel. Phynix deemed to use her Rod, and luckily for those involved, the only effect was colorful streamers shot forth. On Pois' turn, she bravely decided on her chosen form of tactic, a charging spring attack, and targeted the wizard and went directly through the Prismatic Sphere.

In case you don't know what a Prismatic Sphere does, it's pure evil. It has seven levels of 'colors' to get through. The first one deals 20 points of fire damage (reflex save halves), the second 40 points acid damage (reflex save halves), the third 80 points electricity damage (reflex save halves). Pois had a high enough Reflex save to pull through and evasion to nullify any damage. The next color was poison (fortitude save for 1d6 Con damge or die). Luckily for Pois, she is immune to poison, but she made her save just in case. The next color required a fortitude save or be turned to stone, the one after that was a will save or become insane, and the final was a will save or be sent to another plane. Pois made all three with a little room to spare.

Imagine the frustration of Matt when Pois springs through the Prismatic Sphere, completely unharmed, and severely wounds his wizard in one hit. The wizard used his next turn to teleport away. So we bludgeoned our way through the monsters, which was actually a pretty tough fight. And, according to our DM, we were rewarded for our efforts with a new mortal enemy! Like we don't have enough of those.


B.

...because we knew our friend has a twisted sense of humor. We continued down the hallway until we discovered its terminus, a semi-circle stone wall and gold bauble on a pedestal at the focus of the wall. Our rogues made thorough checks of the area, but came up with nothing: no traps, no treasure, no foes. So our next target of interest became the gold bauble. According to Matt, it was slightly broken. Our only semi-mage of the group, Heron, cast some informative spells, but all we could come up with was that the gold bauble radiated evil. But it was still a simple gold bauble and a broken one at that.

Our searches for treasure, or even adventure, at the wall with the bauble turned up nothing. There was just no fabulous treasure to be had. Upon discovering this, we trundled back to the entrance and stepped outside, intent on destroying the dwarf who had sent us on a wild goose chase.

Our trip out of the plane and back to the outpost took a few uneventful days, but upon our return we discovered that the city was... different. Instead of people, little crablike things were scuttling around. After a couple of laborious attempts at communication, we figured out that the weird little people had taken over and built the town after it had been utterly annihilated one thousand years prior.

One-thousand years.

As it dawned on us that we had been duped, our gamemaster cackled, "What do you do with pesky adventurers you can't kill? You send them away for a long, long time! That dwarf was brilliant!"

"Yeah," said Kitty. "But at least we're not wanted criminals anymore!"


C.

...because if the monster manual is closed, what are we going to fight? Well, we continued down the tunnel anyway. Unexpectedly, it ended in a mirror that filled the entire corridor. We stared at it for a while, then began throwing stuff at it. All of these projectiles bounced harmlessly aside except for an arrow which ricocheted violently and impaled Emmriel's hat. As we looked at the mirror and bickered amongst ourselves as to who should try and attack it, the mirror pulsed faintly. Suddenly everyone except Pois felt compelled to touch the mirror, as Pois was the only one who luckily made her Will save on an astronomically high DC. As soon as they touched the mirror, they failed Will saves again and everyone rolled initiative. Kitty, with far and away the best Dex, went first.

"You are suddenly surrounded by a group of really grotesque monsters who threaten you," Matt explained. "What do you do?"

"Oh. I'll attack one," Kitty promptly answered and rolled her action. One attack hit, dealt damage and the turn switch to Emmriel.

"A hideous monster sprang out of nowhere and sliced you up," Matt explained to her as we began to catch on. "You are completely surrounded. It's your action."

Emmriel tried to escape and wound up being attacked again, taking a toll on her HP. As the battle unfolded with the group (except for Pois, who was highly amused and decided to "watch the show") fought against each other to the best of their ability. Emmriel, boxed in by heavy fighters Heron and Kitty, got low on HP within a few rounds and Pois was forced to pull her out of the fray; however, she immediately turned on Pois who knocked her out (using subdual damage.) Kitty, having lost a lot of HP to Heron's powerful attacks went into a retreat mode. Phynix, who kept rolling bizarre but mostly harmless effects for her Rod, was largely ignored until Emmriel went down when Pois decided to prevent unwarranted deaths. She went after Phynix next, but Heron joined in the fray. Thanks to Kitty's blender work, subduing him was relatively easy. Unfortunately, Kitty sneak attacked at that very moment which forced Pois to focus on her.

At about that time, Phynix pointed her Rod at Pois and thankfully the effect was #95: "Caster can read thoughts and see HP of everything for one day." This counteracted the mirror's compulsion and Phynix suddenly wondered why Kitty and Pois were duking it out.

Thanks mostly to Heron's efforts, Pois got the best of Kitty. With three unconscious companions, no extremely sturdy cages nearby, and no guarantee that the mind compulsion would be gone when they woke, they decided it was best to drag their companions to some sort of clerical temple. And so we trudged back out of the Very Simple plane, accomplishing nothing more than simple, silly entertainment.


Results for this Contest Entry
The correct ending was B.
There were 7 total guesses made. 2 were correct and 5 were incorrect.
The author gets 19 points for this story. (4 points + 3 per incorrect guess)
Those listed below get 13 points for guessing correctly on this story. (3 points + 2 per incorrect guess)
   Karlinn and Shannan


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