You all know how players are sometimes right?
You put things in front of them and are always somehow surprised when they use it in some bizarre way.
Sometimes you put what you thought was absolutely nothing in front of them and they run off with it like a goddamn treasure chest.
As I was running my regular Sunday game. The players were traipsing through a ghoul-infested tomb and the much-beleaguered player of the parties Elf (well, really half-elf) rolled his secret doors skill and got a lovely success. Wanting to give him a little special something, I ruled that yes! There was a secret door there! And the players happily swung it open hoping for some fine loot.
Inside was a shrine to the Goddess of Wine, and many bottles of wine
A quick uncorking and a good whiff immediately revealed that what our Elf hoped was a stash of free booze had long ago turned to Vinegar.
I suspect feeling somewhat disappointed, and appropriately fey, The Elf called over the parties Thief, a rather dimwitted and greedy fellow.
“Yes Lucius my friend?”
“Would you like some wine?”
“Of course!” Shouted Iturgen as he grabbed the bottle and chugged a hearty mouthful.
Everybody was chuckling, so it only seemed appropraite to give the man a save vs poison. Which he promptly failed, making him spit out the rancid wine and take a single damage.
Well its that single damage where the absurdity really begins.
“That is…That is…death wine!”
“Perhaps you could coat your arrows in it Iturgen?”
“You’re right! The Ghouls would hate it!”
We all laughed again, and I kicked myself slightly for making it so the ancient wine did a little damage, but whatever, these things happen.
Finally, near the end of the session, the players have cleverly smoked the ghouls out of their nest, and are slaughtering them as they try and flee. Big Daddy Ghoul is trying to hold the line as his children escape, he’s already on fire when the wine-soaked arrow hits him, and failing his poison save, he takes an additional damage, much to everyones laughter. After another round of few hits, the Elf takes up his glaive, scores a hit and rolls a ten, exactly enough to kill the beast.
Exactly enough only because the fucking thief shot him with a wine-arrow last round.
Big Daddy Ghoul dies and the players wrap up their looting. During which I share that the Big Daddy Ghoul only died on that epic Glaive swing because the poisoned arrow that Iturgen had fired at him.
That also got a good laugh.
So there! That’s the story of how a random secret room and a joke save killed what was supposed to be a tough monster a little bit faster than he was already being slaughtered. I don’t really know if their is a point in sharing this, only to say that embracing improvisation and a bit of silliness can be a really great thing for a game. And I guess to thank my players, who have been very patient with me as we traverse the somewhat strange world of Rules Cyclopedia D&D.
So thanks guys! This one is for you! And considering that each of those bottles could probably soak a whole quiver of twenty-four arrows each, I suspect I will be making a lot of poison saves next session.