Once again, I’m telling the story of me, as a Game Master, shaking my head at the group of players. In this particular case, I must add a certain belief among gamers that if you’re in a romantic relationship with the Game Master, you’re likely to get a lot more treasure customized for you, and your characters will never die.
Jessica could tell them that in my case, that’s bullocks.
In this game, we had a group of intrepid adventurers in my simply named Aethership World. What it amounted to is a gigantic planet where air pressure really never altered, but which was the size of Jupiter with massive flying continents and no ‘ground’, as it were. On one particular continent was the city of Port Aldos (which may yet make an appearance in a story), and the group had decided to take a job to eliminate a group of kobolds from a nearby quarry.
Kobolds are a species in a close competition with goblins for the weakest intelligent monsters that players can fight, and the dragon-like kobolds are individually flat-out weaker. However, when it comes to kobolds many high-level parties would rather take on dragons than delve into a kobold lair, because they’re notorious masters of traps.
The journey started out simply enough, with most of the group traveling toward the quarry. But as they approached the area, the elven rogue, played by my wife Jessica, decided to sneak ahead and scout things out. She was fairly skilled for her level, and slipped up next to a tree as she sneaked about… but for all her keen elven senses, she missed something.
The first thing the rest of the group knew that something had gone wrong was when the leopard snarled, and the elf screamed and collapsed under about two-hundred pounds of angry cat that had been in the tree she’d hidden under. The cat instantly dropped her unconscious, and had the rest of the group hesitated a moment, she would have died horribly.
Rushing to rescue her, the others swiftly dispatched the leopard in a flurry of sword strokes and blasts of fire. Once she was conscious, the rest of the group berated the elf for going off on her own, and then they left the subject alone. Nonetheless, none of them thought that this bode badly for their upcoming foray into the kobold lair.
The lair was dark and dank, and the four adventurers stepped inside with trepidation. (I must admit that I can’t even remember what type of characters two of them were… they weren’t terribly memorable. If you’re one of the players in question, I apologize.) The handful of kobold guards were easily dispatched, and the first handful of traps, including a fire blast trap and a stake-filled pit, but had few issues until they traveled deeper.
When the party came to a long, narrow corridor, they didn’t think much of it. Not until the kobolds manning a modified ballista at the other end launched a basket full of caltrops (4-pointed metal spikes) down the hall, littering the length of the tunnel with them. Seconds later they loaded the basket of their ballista with a bundle of arrows, and began firing a shower of arrows down the hallway.
Taking a large amount of damage, the group managed to reach the kobolds and put their siege engine out of commission, but in doing so they took an immense amount of damage, and they could hear what sounded like a war party coming for them. They decided to flee, and got all the way to the entryway before the defenders caught them. In the lead of this group was a kobold in heavy armor, wielding a shield and with a wicked scimitar in one hand.
Most of the kobolds went down quickly before Finnius Fizzlecrank, the mad-bomber gnome alchemist. Unfortunately for him, the kobold in the lead was made of sterner stuff than his companions and had possessed the foresight to drink a potion of fire resistance beforehand! Rushing up, the dice gods foretold Finnius’ doom, for the kobold rolled incredibly well, and his damage was immense, enough to kill the gnome outright! My group chose to pool a resource I’d given them for this game called Hero Points to avert Finnius’ death, leaving him with a horrific scar where he’d nearly been slain, but alive.
The killed the kobold chieftain, then fled the dungeon, never to return. They swore, then and there, to never enter a kobold dungeon again.