The Saving Throw
Funniest Gaming Moments Feb. 22, 2006
These are the gaming moments which the mere memory of still induce laughter.

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Creativity: Sometimes a Curse
  contributed by Darkniciad

   My gaming world was entirely my own creation, put together in the fashion of Frankenstein's monster from video games such as Dragon Warrior, movies, fantasy novels, and mythology. Eventually, once I got a job, official Dungeons and Dragons materials got thrown into the mix, but the world remained ever a unique alloy. The world was also a power nexus, highly magical, and almost a "Monty Haul" campaign, balanced by the fact the NPCs and monsters were given access to the same hauls of magic. Finding magic items in even the most mundane locations was common, and the high powered PCs often lamented when something as meaningless as a Staff of Thunder and Lightning was the most significant magical booty from that annoying wizard who dared to challenge their might.

One day, upon having emerged victorious from a battle with Nightcrawlers (teleporters with prehensile tails and drow-like weapon abilities, derived from Marvel's X-Men), the players were examining the spoils from the Nightcrawlers' lair as I rolled them up.

They were lamenting the "pitiful" gains from their hard-fought battle; a staff of healing, gauntlet of demon control, and an orb of entrapment within a dusty chest filled with more mundane objects. One of my players listed them off as "A band-aid stick, a glove of imp charming, and an orb of butt-hair knotting" as I was rolling up the remaining thing in the chest.

This was rolled out as a "mystery" item, exuding a powerful aura of magic but having a minor effect in reality, which also caused the holder to believe it performed some great service for them. The moment I saw the first roll for "mystery," I already knew what it was going to be, and knowing what else was going on while they were busy looting a single room in a vast fortress, I knew how I could take advantage of it right away. I continued to roll, but I had already determined all the other properties of the item and all the dice handling was just a cover.

I explained the last item was nothing they had seen before, and naturally they were intrigued. It was a small, perhaps two-inch orb of translucent stone which seemed to pulse with magic. When the player who had been so creatively naming the booty picked it up, I told him he felt a tremendous surge of strength upon touching the orb. Being the strongest of the party, and a bit of a bully, he naturally dropped it in his own pocket. The PC was a gorilla of a man, in more ways than one. He was closer to seven feet than six, at the upper limits of natural human strength for his frame, and hairy as a gorilla as well. He was the perfect subject for what was going to come next.

The Necromancer who called the fortress his home scried the erstwhile adventurers, paying little attention to anything but their looting, and promptly began the chant to raise the dead Nightcrawlers to life and surprise them.

The player characters turned on the stiffly rising Nightcrawlers, expecting an easy fight since it was the speed of the creatures which made them dangerous and undeath was naturally likely to reduce this asset. The fight began with the expected results, including two devastating blows from the PCs which nearly incapacitated two of the undead Nightcrawlers... then the PC with the mystery orb raised his sword for battle.

I told him to roll an extra d4 for his damage, which he took to mean his newly acquired orb of great strength was aiding him. He was quite surprised when his mighty overhand stroke missed due to a feeling like the stinging of a dozen needles in his backside altering his aim slightly. The battle continued, his companions continuing to mop up the floor with the greatly slowed creatures. Once again the PC with the orb missed with the great sweeping arc of his enchanted blade, again being assaulted with some sort of magical needles striking his backside.

The PC promptly left the Nightcrawlers to his companions and began seeking out the hidden or invisible wizard who was firing missiles at his derriere. He found nothing, and was still searching long after the second battle with the creatures was ended. Bending to look under a crude bed, he was once again assaulted by the unseen assailant.

Hearing noise coming from down the hall, the companions hurried in that direction to meet the threat, and hopefully accumulate more spoils of battle. As they broke into a run the PC with the mystery orb felt the stinging needles striking him with every step.

During the battle which followed with a pair or more or less non-menacing zombies, the PC once again proved to be almost completely useless, constantly missing and being stung by the needles. He had enough, and ordered the rest of the troupe out of the fortress hoping to find something that could shield him from the annoying wizard.

Returning to their own fortress a short distance away, the PC leading the group enlisted the aid of their wizard to determine what they could learn about their spoils, hoping for hidden powers in a couple of blades they had obtained. The PC finally found the source of his discomfort when he was informed that the orb he carried was a cursed item created by a mad mage... an orb of butt-hair knotting.

Jason refrained from making up creative names for unimpressive magical spoils from that point forward.

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