This story takes place some 15ish years ago. It is also a collection of stories from the same campaign adventure. Enjoy!
I was running City of the Spider Queen for my game group, the one that I’d been running for since back in the 2nd Edition days.
Do you all know those games where everything is going well and people are taking the game seriously and everyone’s having a good time? You know those same times where somebody says something funny and it turns into a total comedy hour? Yeah, that’s what happened here.
So the party is lacking in the ability to get things appraised, and the Cleric decides to use an ability she has to cast a select arcane spell to cast find familiar.
She gets: a celestial hedgehog that happens to have a fairly high appraisal skill. The problem is, under rules for familiars and speaking with animals, animals tend to appraise things from their point of view. That means that human appraisal values don’t really mean much to them. When asked to appraise a valuable piece of artwork, I decided that the hedgehog would appraise things based on its value in barrels of nuts.
I thought it was clever. My player thought it was hilarious.
We had a new player join us, can’t remember who he was other than a mutual friend of some of the other players. He decides that he wants to play, but he wants to play a barbarian because he thought Conan was cool. Okay, fine. When asked to engage, he did what he thought a barbarian was supposed to do, which was run right out in front of everyone. In a normal combat situation, that wouldn’t be a terrible idea. The problem was, he played his character like he was an idiot. Although he was not an idiot. Therefore, his character died. A lot. His character died so often, and was brought back by the party so often, that I decided that his god, Tempus, the Lord of Battle, gave him a “Frequent Die-ers Card” which granted every 10th death a free resurrection spell. This got a good laugh from the party, for obvious reasons.
His 10th death? The party saw a balor guarding the entrance to a cave that they needed to go into. For those that are unaware, these particular demons carry a very large great sword that has the ability to cut the head off of anyone that it crits on. The party began formulating a plan to take on the creature when the barbarian’s player tells me he just charges the balor. I look at him. I look at the party. I look back at him.
“Okay. He gets an opportunity attack against you. Also, since you are charging, you get a +2 to attack and a -2 to AC.” (Remember: 3rd Edition)
“That’s fine. I can waste him.”
The party proceeds to groan. I tell them I am rolling in the open for this one. The balor threatens a crit on a 19-20. The barbarian’s AC? 18. The balor’s bonus to hit stuff? +19. Therefore, according to 3rd Edition rules, If my first roll to hit him is a 19 or 20, as long as I don’t roll a 1 on a subsequent roll to confirm the critical, I automatically lob off his head. This is why the party is groaning.
I roll onto the table. It comes up: a NATURAL 20. People, I can’t make this up. I roll the second roll. 19. I describe as the barbarian screams a death cry, charging up to the balor. I also then describe the Baylor casually turning and flicking his sword at the barbarian whose head lops off and rolls back towards the party. Combat ensues.
The party has just finished defeating a Hydra. One of the players, a wizard I believe, knows that parts of a Hydra are good for certain spell components. Therefore, the wizard starts digging into the Hydra for parts. One of the player’s character is very engrossed in the new magic items they had found. He fails his spot check to see the wizard preparing to prank him.
The real world, the player who is getting pranked has his nose in a book trying to look up the properties of a new magic item he acquired and wasn’t really paying attention.
After the wizard makes a crack about swimming in the hydra’s innards being like “warm spaghetti” (becoming a long-time running gag), he pops up over the side of the Hydra wearing its dead head on his own, rolling high to make a convincing hydra roar.
I ask the player who’s nose had been in a book to make another spot check. He looks up at me and rolls.
“Uhhh…what am I rolling for? I’m by the Hydra body, right?”
“You’ll see. Just roll.”
He rolls and gets a rather low roll. I describe how he sees movement out of the corner of his eye. He turns and looks and sees a hydra head coming over the edge of the body. I asked him what he does. He launches a dagger. A magical dagger. The wizard gets hit. Hilarity ensues, with the new phrase “Hey look guys, I’m a hydra!” entering our vernacular for years to come.
This was a great campaign, as I remember it, and I’m sad to say that I haven’t spoken to those guys in over a decade. And so it goes, I guess.
Well, I hope you enjoyed these DM stories! Until next time, dear readers!