One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
I have many fine memories of games and good times with my friends gathered around the DM screen and a bowl of chips. I was wondering, what was the craziest, boneheaded stunt either you or one of your players has ever pulled? Successful or not.
For myself, I was playing a 10th level human barbarian named Joachim. He was CG, loud, good-natured, and lord was he an arrogant snot (even if he couldn't read or write!). Well, my group was involved in a dungeon crawl through this mage's tower, and we were in the process of climbing this long spiral stair.
About halfway to the top (120' to the bottom; I said it was a long climb), we get attacked by a pair of Vrocks! We took the first one down quickly, but the second was smart. Well, I quickly got frustated, because the Vrock just stayed out of reach and hit us again and again with spell-like abilities--the cheater! Finally, I decided that Joachim would be just about in a full rage, and turned to the DM.
"I charge the Vrock", I said.
Play came to a halt.
"You what?" he asked.
"I charge him! You can make a Jump check as part of movement, so I charge him!"
Jaws went slack, but the DM chuckled and waved his hand for me to roll the dice. I tied in initiatve with the party wizard (Artos) and started psyching myself, yelling at the Vrock, "You're mine, bird-brain! I'm coming for YOU!"
Well, my turn rolled around, and I rolled my jump check. Natural 20, praise the lord and pass the ammuntion! Cleared the gap and made it to the Vrock, and then the DM asked me a question.
"Are you going to take your attack before you fall?"
I looked at my group and said, "Nope, I'm going to grapple him and bite his neck apart."
The DM nodded and chuckled again and then he finished with the wizard's spell before rolling my stupid stunt. The rest of the party just shook their heads and one of them asked the cleric if he had prepared raise dead. Well, the wizard wasn't planning on it being successful, but he had just one high level spell left memorized: phantasmal killer. He penetrated the spell resistance, and the Vrock rolled a 3 and a 2, failing both saves and dying from fear.
So, as Joachim is hurtling through the air, he sees the Vrocks eyes widen in terror, he slams into him and gets a successful grapple, and the Vrock dies from fright!
Well, we both drop 120' feet like a pair of stones. And the DM rolls my falling damage, and I have never seen so many 1s and 2s, which made me grin even more!
Twenty minutes later, the rest of the party makes it all the way back down the staircase to find me sitting on the bottom riser at 3 hit points! First thing I do is turn to the party and say, "Yep, I scared 'em to death. Damn, I'm good." As the cleric hits me with a cure critical.
The whole party broke down laughing, except the guy playing the wizard, who kept insisting he had killed the Vrock. And (in-character), Joachim placed his hand on the little guys shoulder. "And aren't you out of spells for the day, Artos?"
"Well, no, I still got feather fall left, but yes, no attack spells."
"Good, then it's settled. I killed the demon, scared him to death. I'd hate to get mad at a spell-caster that ain't got no spells left for the day because he just told me I fell 120' when I didn't have to."
And Artos blinked twice, before he said. "Yep, you scared him to death."
I just grinned at the group, and they started laughing again. God, that character was so much fun!
The first time I ever encountered The Tomb of Horrors, I was a player, not the DM. My brother was running a Druid as his PC. When we got to the Green Demon Face (the Sphere of Annihilation), we were very curious as to what it was.
My brother picked up a stick off the ground and stuck it into the blackness. When he pulled it back out, it has been disintegrated up to the point it had entered (though the DM didn't use the word 'disintegrated'). So, he continues his experiment by sticking his magical dagger in as he had done the stick up to its crossguard with the same result.
Now, we're all quite curious at this point, but my brother surprised us all by stating that his Druid was sticking his left hand into the blackness as he had done the stick and his dagger. We all yelled at him to "Stop!" but it was too late. The DM described the bloody stump of a wrist the Druid now sported when he pulled it back.
My brother never bothered to Regenerate it, so to this day, that character is a one-handed Druid.
In my campaign, our "Heroes of Restenford," after successfully exploring the Secret of Bone Hill and untangling the Assassin's Knot, decided to investigate the mysterious happenings in the Dungeon #71 adventure Priestly Secrets. In the pirate catacombs underneath the Temple of Phaulkon Morgue, Balthar Orebeard the Unpredictable decided that tying the party members together by a safety rope to traverse the slippery slope leading deeper into the catacombs was too precautious.
Living up to his name, he promptly slung his battleaxe, removed his shield and dove on it down the shaft, sledding his way into the unknown. Unable to slow his speed or steer his course, he slammed into a boulder in the lower room, and dazed, tumbled into the swift moving underground river. Now unconscious, he was swept downstream and washed up on the shore of the large underground cavern known as the rubble rift, drawing the attention of its very hungry ghast occupant. If not for the immediate reactions of his dedicated party members, who were used to coming to his rescue, Balthar would surely have perished.
But by Norebo's dice, the rescuers arrived just in time to find a still barely alive Balthar with the ghast crouched of his unconciuos body voraciously gnawing on the stump of the foolhardy dwarf's left arm. Quickly dispatching the ghast, they dragged the barely breathing Balthar back to the safety of Restenford above.
But that was many adventures ago. Adarius, the party bard, now often regales the customers of smokey taverns with stories of his dwarf friend's exploits, although he winks back at his companions' table as he joking refers to "Baltharmless." A sullen dwarf scowls over a huge tankard of ale as he pounds his stump on the table. Balthar is not amused.
This post is old, but I just found it. So, for what it is worth...
Several years ago I was running a LARGE group (11 players with three retainers and a co-dm) through Maure Castle, the Dragon Magazine version. After many hours in the dungeon (in both real and game time) they went to the lower levels and encountered a cat like beast, i think it was an advanced Krenshar. At this point the group had mostly avoided direct contact with any sentient dwellers of the dungeon, but in so doing had several entities searching for them.
The two groups rejoined each other after a great deal of trouble, and found a stairway going down. After they exited the stairs to one of the lower levels, a Krenshar surprised them from behind and used its scare ability. A long series of bad saves later and the party started to flee in all directions.
One of our experienced (but clearly not very bright) players made his save. He was playing a 1/2 dragon bard, and decided to charge the beast and attempt to tumble over it. The location was such that if he did accomplish this he would be isolated and alone.
He had no ranks in tumble, and the group strongly advised him not to do this. However, he persisted. He ran and tumbled using a Dex check. He rolled a natural 1. I offered a reflex save, on which he also rolled a natural 1.
He lay underneath the Krenshar, who through a short string of critical hits, disemboweled and beheaded him. Not only did the characters panic (already under a fear effect) but so did the players. They scattered and ran full tilt. The quick and awful demise of one foolish player elicited nothing but foolish responses from all of the rest.
Over the course of the next couple of hours, we proceeded to arbitrate their actions as the fled willy nilly out through a treacherous dungeon. They slowly dwindled, one after another, one bad roll after another. No saves were successful against anything. If it was possible to miss or fail a spell check, they did so. If it was possible to make a bad decision, they did so.
Finally the remnant hit a gnoll cleric's symbol of death. All but one of the players perished as she tore a curtain down exposing the glyphs. An hour later, a lonely and bedraggled shadow dancer emerged from the ruins. Unharmed and alone. Except for one player, it was a TPK.
We started in 3.0, and it took us 5 years to get those characters to the appropriate level to attempt Maure. I have never seen so many 1's in 30 years of playing. I have never seen such a consistent row of bad choices. I gave them every reasonable chance of escape, and even some unreasonable chances. All for naught. The only thing I could have done was teleport them out.
To this day most of the players are still around. They have new characters. And the surviving thief/shadowdancer has a nervous tick whenever the thought of going back into Maure is brought up.
And yet, I think for almost every member of the party, it is the most memorable of all the adventures they have participated in. All Hail Kuntz!
OK - this was many years ago, playing 2E in the mid '90s is my guess. I know because I won a trophy at Gen Con in 97 telling this story (it was probably better then when my memory was fresher).
The PCs were about level 7, and the party consisted of three PCs, plus henchmen. The PCs were a wizard, a fighter, and a priest of WeeJas. The party had fought through a dungeon filled with all manner of humanoids and undead when they reached an unholy chapel, where they defeated a priest of Incabulous and his minions.
After the battle, the priest's player says: "I walk up to the alter. Is there anything here?"
"On the alter lies a ancient and blackened book, bearing the mark of the Charnelhouse" said I, the DM.
"I pick up and read the Unholy Book of Incabulos" states the priest's player confidently.
The other players yelled "NO!" in unison, but it was too late. I turn to them and said "Your priest has crumpled to the ground, writhing in pain. He appears to have been struck with a horrible wasting illness."
The wizard's player says "****!"
The fighter's player says "Should we help him?"
The wizard's player replies "I ain't touchin' him now..."
And there they left the priest to his doom... _________________ Pateris of Urnst
The Technical Bard
That is a great story. I had a few strange encounters with some of my players. Though the one that I remember vividly was a player who had a knight character was challenged to a duel by a very powerful enemy. Even though the party had the guy surrounded he would not deny him the right by combat. All the other players pleaded to just bring him in but the knight said he who is pure cannot lose no matter how great the obstacle may seem. Unfortunately the wizard PC decided to cast a stoneskin on the knight character unknowingly.
They battled and the knight character barely won. Though the knight character kept questioning why some of his opponents well placed hits did not harm him? The party was nearly half way back with the severely wounded opponent in shackles on there journey. The wizard then tells the knight I'm glad I cast that spell on you or else you would of died.
The knight said what? The combat was not determined fairly and he unshackled the prisoner and said we must dual again. How I am wounded and to weak to fight now. The knight took out a potion of healing he received from the priests of the temple Heironious. The opponent drank the potion and the knight asked him if he was fit to fight again. Yeah, I'm ready to kill you, fine he tossed the prisoner the weapon they took from him and fought again. Once again the knight fought him and had 1 hit point left before he defeated the prisoner again.
The knight went before the wizard and told him if he ever interfered in an honorable battle again his life would be forfeit. He also demanded payment from the wizard to make amends to the church for behaving dishonorably.
The wizard character agreed and gave all of his shares of the reward to the church of Heironious. Since then no one questioned the knight's honor. The prisoner was executed for his crimes but confessed he had never faced such an honorable opponent in his life.
Now just to show you the knight character was fairly new to the campaign so his character was only 6th level while most of the party was between 10 and 12th lvl. The opponent the knight faced was a 15th lvl fighter who had a magical sword and armor. The knight's only magic item was the potions given to him by the church.
I guess its true the righteous man always wins. I for the first time ever allowed a pc to gain two levels because of how well he played his character.
I don't normally prowl outside my own domain down in the 2e forum, but I stumbled onto this post, opened it out of curiosity, and found the stories to be very amusing. So, here I am, "Post Shifting" from the 2e Plane to join you temporarily before returning from whence I have come.
I am sure I've had all sorts of crazy stunts pulled in my games over the years, some of them completely insane or stupid, a few outlandish, and even a few crafty. Here's one that comes to mind that I'd call desperate, bordering on reckless:
My player was running a paladin of Heironeous named Justarius who was battling the orginal SlaveLords from the famed "A" series. The party was on the high seas and being attacked/pursued by at least two ships hired by the Slavers to kill the party (bounties were posted on the heads of the party, Justarius 'fetching' the highest price). The situation was desperate and Justarius knew he had to somehow turn the tide (pun semi-intended) against their enemies. This meant he had to get off his ship and somehow slow down or defeat the mobility of at least one enemy vessel to 'even the odds.'
His ploy? Well, Justarius owned a magical item, a Figurine of Wondrous Power that could summon forth a Greater Pegasus for a limited duration. Unfortunately, Galred (the winged steed) wouldn't have enough running room to launch into the sky from the deck of the party's ship. Desperate and against better judgment (?), he opted to CATAPULT himself from the deck of the ship. I told him about the risk, but the player insisted that it was the only way to successfully summon forth Galred.
But the crafty paladin had a hidden trick to play that would ensure he didn't become fish bait by sinking like a lead weight into the ocean. In addition to summoning forth Galred from the Astral Plane, the Figurine had the added benefit of granting Feather Falling ability upon the wearer, as well, a type of magical protective 'insurance' for the rider of the pegasus should he/she get tossed off.
The result of this crazy scheme? Well, Justarius endured a high velocity toss, successfully made his ability checks not to hurl his innards much less get jarred for internal damage, and as soon as the paladin began to fall in the vertical plane, the power of his Figurine enacted in moments, thus slowing his descent. Granted, he still had horizontal movement towards the enemy vessel, but his fall was greatly reduced. Quickly, the jostled paladin, still recovering from the ordeal, grasped his amulet Figurine, screamed, "Galred, come to me!" and the winged horse arrived in plenty of time to spare the desperate, and lucky, paladin from a drowning death.
That had to be one of the craziest stunts (that actually worked, incredibly!) any of my players has pulled in a while...
I now return to the 'Lower' Posts... Come visit sometime. You'll like it down there...
(FYI: this thread should be shared to ALL on the General Forum boards given it's widespread target audience! Good stuff here, Masterarminas!)
This happened in the mid-90s. I was playing a low level elven mage/thief. The party had rode into a new town. When we were inquiring about a good place to stay I had asked one of the street urchins about the local thieves guild in hopes of joining. That evening after retiring I woke up to a noise and saw a figure with a dagger creeping towards my bed. Upon winning initiative I responded by casting Melf's Acid Arrow. Upon being hit the intruder turned and jumped out of the second story window. I rush to the window in time to see him attempt to get up and limp off on a broken leg but after a couple of steps he falls over lifeless from the second round of acid damage. I climb down the wall of the inn and make sure he is really dead then proceed to loot the body. I then locate a hapless street urchin and force him to show me the entrance to the thieve's guild. Upon arriving I don the ring of spell storing I had gained on the last adventure(loaded with invisibility spells of course). I enter the thieve's guild by myself and proceed to wipe out every last thief occupying it.
One was when I was playing my pirate Darious Nighthawk (ftr/rog/swash-pirate prestige class, forget the name though).
We were in a pocket dimension and found an enormous amount of treasure. With no way to carry it, but one party member had a permanent floating disc item. We put that down and put the treasure on top of it and floated it along with us. Darious grabbed a quarterstaff and plopped his butt down on the treasure and this he joked was his first "ship." and he began polling himself along, floating with the gold.
We came upon a riddle, and by all accounts this was the means of exit to this little dimension. I forget the riddle but I remember the answer (it was "a key") anyway, I was about to say the answer when a party member blurted a different answer out and was promptly turned into a ruby statue. Darious immediately appraised the statue and the value came in at 60,000gp. He was literally jumping for joy. (the group was unaware he had found a portable hole). He proceeded to trick every party member to give a false answer and turned them all into statues. Satisfied that he now had all the loot and 5 60k ruby statues to sell he answered the riddle which he knew the answer to the whole time.
When the answer was given the party members were restored to life to the screaming rage of the pirate who was going to sell them. Then we were transported to another pocket dimension that had a castle and nothing else, for miles all one could see was mist. We eventually found that there was an invisible wall that kept us near the castle. Well Darious was still with the treasure and when he was out of site of the party he took the treasure and the disc and threw it in his portable hole. Then he proceeded to yell, curse, and spit at the invisible wall. When the party came over to find out what happened he lied and said that when he bumped the wall the disc and the treasure just vanished. The party bought it hook, line and sinker and Darious was now 50,000 gold pieces richer.
Another funny story was from the first edition campaign I played in from the age of 14-21. I ran a high elf fighter-mage which made it to 12 fighter/14 mage by the end of the campaign. (he also achieved demi-god status after sending asmodeous back to the nine hells) His name was Al'Reth Uth'Tahl (translation- Great Arcane Wizard of the Blade).
Anyway we were in a vast dungeon (when I mean vast, I mean vast. We campaigned there for 6 months real time). The party had come across some magical beans, you know plant them, and something wonderful/misfortunate happens. Well we planted the first one and the planter became poisoned or something. After dealing with that we planted another and it popped out a bunch of minitaurs. We handled them and then the party decided to plant another seed. Al'Reth advised against it, but they took a vote and went through with it anyway. I told the dm "I step out of the room and close the door."
DM- "you close the door?"
DM- "all of those left in the room, you see nothing but black, you have been sucked into the void."
Now we had a pretty large table of players (8) and two DMs for this campaign. Silence was never so loud, everyone was preparing to roll up new characters and such. I managed to work with the DMs however and rescued the party from the rift by creating my own spell. It helped that the weapon I carried had extra powers that I could combine with my own magic, in the end I pulled them all out of the void, and was left mentally stranded on the astral plane. I had experience with astral travel before though and contacted some githzerai allies which brought me back to my body on the prime material.
Upon waking, Al'Reth to the party- "the next time the wizard says it's a bad idea concerning all things magical, perhaps it would be wise to listen!"
In a 2nd edition game I was in, my friend had built his own world and my character was a marshall of the country of burgundy (all the countries names were based on alcohol). (myrimidon fighter, 7th level at the time of this story) The general of Burgundy's armies was a proud man who was said to have never lost a duel (17th level fighter) and was particularly fond of his armour. I don't recall exactly when forced my character to challenge the man to a duel, I believe it was because I had irked him and he would see to it that I couldn't progress in rank as the marshalls were part of the military arm of Burgundy. My character Kain Dragonhand had earned fame for single handidly killing an older black dragon, and was set to reap the benefits of such an act.
Anyhow he challenged the general to a duel and the man accepted. What he did not know is that Kain had picked up and tamed an Xaver (a monster that looks like a longsword but eats metal, usually hides in treasure hordes). It was found amongst the dragon's treasure. My character was a two-weapon fighter and used the Xaver in combat. His other weapon was a sword of sharpness.
The duel took place in a large arena and people in the group were calling me crazy, one person even let slip the general's level. So here Kain a 7th level fighter is facing a 17th level fighter. With much fanfare the fight began, Kain won the initiative and I attacked, the Xaver swinging first, and the Sword of Sharpness next. Rolled two 20s. The Xaver ate the general's prized armour for lunch and the sword of sharpness was now able to behead the general thanks to the roll of 20. In one round the fight was over and the general lay decapitated.
My prize for this victory? Sent with the group to another nation to serve as liason, aka banishment. But it was still a triumphant moment.
I also recall another crazy thing a player did, it was in the campaign that Kain Dragonhand was in. There was a character playing a "peasant hero" starting his first level as a commoner (farmer) and progressing thereafter as a fighter. When the group was level 3 we encountered a Death Knight, and we were certainly outmatched by him and his henchman. This Death Knight had been plaguing the peasant hero's village, and we encountered him in some caves. Inside the cave was a very large cliff with a huge drop off. We could handle the henchmen, but the Death Knight was going to be a problem, I believe he had already killed a party member with power word kill.
The peasant hero launched himself into the Death Knight and forced him off of the cliff, but the poor kid went with him. When he did that everyone was silent, nobody expected anyone to sacrifice himself like that. Thereafter the party informed the character's parents and he became a local legend, a travelling minstrel overheard the story and crafted a song about him. Wherever we went in that area we were recognized by the locals and given free room and board by everyone.
It was a heroic ending to a character that benefitted the party, and through that one act of sacrifice the simple farmer became the stuff of legends. Pretty cool.
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