Tuesday, August 23, 2016

RPG a Day - Day 23

Today's topic: What is your best 'worst luck' story?

Oh, my best is non-gaming related, so I'll have to save that for another day. As for gaming . . .

It's often said that people create their own luck. I think when it comes to RPGs, a GM can create his players' bad luck, too. In the very first Dungeons & Dragons game I ever played, the GM did exactly that.

We were playing a party of adventurers in a pre-made adventure setting. Saltmarsh, I think? It doesn't matter. Had I more experience, I might have known there was going to be trouble right off the bat when the GM had us bother with finding jobs. Not adventurer jobs, mind you. Normal civilian employment.

See, 3rd edition D&D had rules for earning money the civilian way. You could spend your (for some classes, severely limited) skill points on professional training and earn varying amounts of money per day for your labor. I didn't spend any skill points on such because I thought my paladin was going to actually be out there smiting evil. That's fine; you can perform unskilled labor and earn money still; moving crates at the docks and so forth.

It's worth pointing out that a night at the inn was one gold. The cheapest lodging in town was to stay at the temple of the god devoted to travelers and safe roads for 10 silver a night. Using my divine might to haul cargo, I was earning . . .
Hoo boy.
 . . . Much less than that.

Thankfully, the GM decided that a game about a paladin starving in the streets of Saltmarsh was not going to be interesting and sent us on an adventure.

Unbeknownst to us, this adventure had us crashing a smuggling operation in a "haunted" house. We found a member of the smuggling ring clearly cast out from the group, as he was bound and gagged in the house. We freed him and invited him to explore the house with us, because why not? So just as we're about to discover the hidden entrance to the smugglers' hideout . . .
Uh oh.
 . . . The jerk decides to shank me in the back. With sneak attack dice. And a high level poison worth more than everything we'd find in the smugglers' den.

Somehow, I survive and we clear out the den for actual monetary gain. Except, the smugglers were apparently the only source of alcohol for the city, so now we're hated by the general populace. Even better, the jerk who shanked me was the nephew of some politician, so now we're also wanted criminals.

Gee, you'd think maybe we were being set up.

By the time this all came to light, we'd recently escorted a diplomat to the city, and she offered to shelter us under her authority. Well, on the condition that we "consummate" this arrangement. I didn't like it, but the GM had shown he was ready to let the characters sit in prison, so if I wanted to keep playing the paladin, this was the way to go. Except . . .
"Make a saving throw." Why? . . . Shoot.
. . . It turns out our kindly benefactor is a succubus. Now the entire party is broke again, because we have to pay high level spell casters to heal the level damage she caused.

Our next adventure has us sorting out an "artist" whose sculptures were just people and creatures he'd been turning to stone with magic. Can you guess how that went?
"Make a saving throw!" . . . You've got to be kidding me.
(Edit: I went back to look this up. That spell isn't even accessible to a caster until level 11 or later. At our peak, we hit level 4, and we weren't there long. By all rights, this was a crazy challenge to throw at us.)

We had similar luck when a gang of local ruffians decided we were suitable targets for bullying. Their response to a bit of backbone was to murder my paladin in the street. In broad daylight. In the middle of a crowd.
"The barbarian turns you into a fine, pink mist. The ruffians are now local heroes because everyone hated you."
Now we have to spend some money we don't have on a resurrection for my paladin. We were completely out of options, except . . .
I couldn't find any tasteful pictures of a succubus, so have a bunny instead.
Broke. Back at level 1. Reviled by the city. Our only friend a soul-consuming sex demon.

The game didn't last much longer than this. Like I said, though: Sometimes your bad luck is made for you. We rolled poorly, but even good rolls weren't going to save us in this environment.
Just to lighten the mood. Comic by Shamus Young.

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