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The Tragedy Of Kriton

Anytime a fantasy world has a ‘dark land’ or a ‘land of mists’, players get understandably nervous. Maybe they’re just indulging the proper dramatic style of such gothic worlds of vampires and their spooky castles. Well, for one ‘Kriton’, no vampire was too terrible and no castle too spooky. Venturing into perhaps the singlemost well known ‘vampire castle’ in RPG lore (you can guess which one), he insisted on going in without any cleric or holy men of any kind. "Damn the gods!" he’d use as his battle-cry . . . when he was in a good mood. His player despised religion and it often carried over into his characters. The others wondered how you could defeat a castle full of the undead after renouncing the heavens. Well, he didn’t. Ever.

The tragedy began when our four heroes, Kriton along with, shall we call them ‘Handsome Thief’, ‘Gardener’ and ‘Generic Fighter’ went along with the plot, accepted the black coach ride up the mountain’s winding road. Oh, and Kriton’s fiancee was with them, the only NPC in the group. Along the way, the Handsome Thief just declared that he was going to ‘get’ Kriton’s woman before the night was over. We shall see.

The plot, traditionally, finds the vampire’s ‘guests’ joining him for dinner, the lights go out, and the cat-and-mouse game ensues. However, during dinner, a casual comment from the GM, simply trying to add ‘atmosfear’, remarked that one of them looked exactly like the Vampire Lord, a roll said it was the Handsome Thief. After the lights went out, the game was played by-the-book, turn-for-turn, movement rates fully accounted for, and found the party scattered throughout the maze of castle chambers, spires and secret stairwells.

The Gardener slipped on a battlement and fell to his death . . . into the garden below.

The Generic Fighter soon followed when he exceeded his rope’s weight limit.

The Handsome Thief found his way to the Vampire Lord’s in-life bedchamber, where Kriton’s lady, under the vampire’s ‘charm gaze’, was waiting in bed, and mistook our Handsome Thief with his striking similarity to the Vampire Lord for being just that. The Handsome Thief knew exactly what to do. Endurance scores were counted for just how long they could play.

Meanwhile . . . Kriton meets the Vampire Lord on a spiral stair. Our ‘villain’ casually informs Kriton of not only what was going on downstairs, but exactly how to get there fastest. Kriton speeds down to the master bedroom, and enters just after the Handsome Thief left. Unfortunately, a large fireplace on the map enables Kriton to see a long shadow of a sneakyman from the next room, and the chase is on!

The Handsome Thief runs through a banquet hall and to an open window, emerging on a battlement. As the storm rages outside, he throws up a grappling hook—the map conveniently has a sketch of the outside of that particular point, showing a gargoyle just above him—he tries to escape! Kriton throws a lightning bolt and blasts him into oblivion, leaving a smoldering rope dangling in the wind.

Kriton: "I lean WAY over the battlement, making sure I can see that at most his ashes are all that’s left, falling into the darkness."

GM: "Leaning WAY over, the Vampire Lord pushes you from behind, sending you tumbling into the mists far below."

You can’t say the villain didn’t have to lift a finger to defeat the heroes. He had to lift one.

Ahh, but wait! All good vampire tales need sequels! For, enraged at this defeat, Kriton’s heir came to the castle, and confronted the Vampire Lord during the wedding ceremony. It came down to 1 health VS 1 health, and each with 1 spell point left. The Vampire Lord cast a rather wimpy version of ‘burning hands’, and Kriton needed only a ‘1’ on the D20 to fail . . . if he kept his loyalty to the gods, there would have been NO chance of failure. Of course, a ‘1’ he rolled indeed, and the dice subsequently found itself flying fast out the open window, then Kriton’s broken spirit (his player) stormed out of the room, and moments later the group heard the unmistakable sound of his car revving up, going forward, stopping, backing up, then repeating this process again and again and again. He later returned, frustrated even further that the weight of his car could not even crack his dice, no matter how many times he backed over it.

We were never certain what his angle was for entering the Vampire Lord’s castle sans gods. Maybe he wanted to create an unforgettable tale of tragic romance and rolling.



Player #1: "Ooops."

Player #2: "Ooops? Master Bard Elfis Priestly, you woke up the vampire-dragon with your gay lay and all you have to say for yourself is ‘ooops’?"

Player #1: "Maybe we can talk to it."

Player #2: "And when that fails?"

Player #1: "IF it fails, I’ll sing a ‘charm’ spell!"

Player #2: "It has 100% magic resistance. And you need magical weapons to hurt it. Go figure."

Player #1: "It’s vampiric! I’ll stake it through the heart?"

Player #2: "With what? A wooden jousting lance? Got one of those in you back pocket?"

Player #1: "Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. Watch this! Charge!"

Player #2: "Run!"


Openin’ The Door . . . To Oblivion

Somewhere on another uncharted but conveniently atmospherically ideal world for human life that has otherwise failed to produce human life, a platoon of Colonial Marines were investigating the abandoned research facility. ‘Hans’ wanted to know what’s beyond the "Shhh-shhh" doors. But they were locked, and the code-key panel was broken. Rather than wait for the tech guy to come over from Operations, Hans decided to blow the door open. According to the rules, a gram of ‘D-19’ explosive is equal to 50 grams of our earthly C-4. Hans puts 75 KILOgrams of D-19 on the door. And yes, he actually said the classic words, to none other than a guy named ‘Charlie’: "Don’t worry Charlie, I’ve got an angle . . ." Maybe he was referring to a loophole in the rules. Maybe he WANTED to be the first Marine to travel through subspace without a ship. Who knows? Because he not only succeeded in opening the door, but he also eradicated the entire alien nest, along with the Marines, the entire facility, and a nearby mountain range. Unfortunately, due to a problem with science-fiction games being picky on matters of temporal time-space, he gained the experience points for everything in the same microsecond that he was turned into subatomic particles, giving him no time to employ his newfound elemental knowledge, except perhaps for his spiritual essence to find a way back from the netherworld of the ‘force’. Perhaps the ghostly specter of Hans will appear to a young Marine later on, and say, "Use more force, Luke!"


1.5 Survivors

Since mainstream RPGs seem to fancy software-worthy titles instead of more, say, imaginative ones, they at least provided me with a title for this tale, for who else do you describe ‘one and a half’ survivors? This adventure happened to be a sequel to a very deadly, very infamous vampire-castle. Nine player characters go in. Each one had his own ‘specialty’, as well as his own ‘foolproof idea’ of how to defeat this dreaded villain. Hmmm, maybe, as with the title, it would be best to take things as given: ‘Proof of fools’ special ideas’

One of the heroes asked the vampire-lord if he wanted to see a magic trick, and was subsequently shown magic. Period. In the form of a lighting bolt.

Another hero insisted that the ‘fiery gate to hell’ had more XP potential than the vampire-lord’s tomb, and further insisted on jumping in to ‘get the jump’ on the XP before the rest of the players.

The heroes continued to perish until the finale, when only two remained. One of them backed up ‘to the edge of the dimensional portal’ to give himself a bonus for that extra 5’ of firing range, but neglected to consider that the dimensional portal was erratic due to the electrical storm outside, and upon suddenly closing, sawed his leg off.


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