Madness in the Void

Posted on June 18, 2018

When I was running a 4e D&D game a few years ago, the party encountered a group of frost zombies. These zombies were not your everyday zombies—they were somewhat homebrewed and caused frost damage, but also were a little bit intelligent. Only a little bit.

The party consisted of an Elf Wizard, a Human Ranger, and a Dwarf Fighter. There was also a henchman. So the four of them turn a corner and see these frost zombies. A couple of well-placed spells from the Wizard, arrows from the Ranger, and hacks from the Fighter and the henchman reduced the zombie threat significantly, leaving only what the party assumed to be the leader of the zombie group (he had been grunting unintelligible orders to the other zombies).

During the fight through the zombie pack, the henchman had gone down. The Fighter was low on HP and dangerously close to death. Out of arrows, the Ranger decided to try something different. As a DM I like different.

"Can I attack him with my bag of holding?" asked the Ranger.

"What?" I replied, wondering where this was leading.

"Can I attack with my bag of holding? I want to place it over the zombie’s head."

"Ah. Ok." An idea popped into my head. I asked for a straight melee attack, and the player rolled a natural 20.

"You place the bag over the head of the zombie, your roll means that you were able to do this without the zombie seeing or being able to do anything about it. Oh, and it is the zombie’s turn."

I rolled an intelligence check, and rolled middle sort of number. I therefore decided the zombie tore the bag open to get his head out. I then rolled a d4. "On an even number, nothing happens. On an odd number, who knows."

The party waited in anticipation. I rolled a 3. "The zombie rips open the bag and reveals a swirling void. His head is not visible to anyone looking at this. Can everyone roll a Will save."

Everyone bar the Ranger succeeded. The Ranger rolled a 1.

"Everyone manages to avert their eyes in time, except the Ranger. The swirling void, a black spot against the otherwise well lit area, is filled with bright dots of light (think a swirling galaxy rotating around a black hole). This has a hypnotic effect as it whirls and rotates. The swirling lights and black, inky void expands in your vision and you find yourself lost in the void, falling into the center. Your INT score is permanently reduced—” (rolled a 14 on a d20) “—by 14, if that reduces it to zero then it is actually a 1."

I told the players that had made the save that out of the corner of their eyes, or through looking between their fingers over their eyes, that they saw the swirling void disappear into itself, basically decapitating the zombie and killing it. The void from the bag of holding caused no ill effect otherwise, but the bag of holding was destroyed. All the items within lost.

The Ranger had turned completely mad and just sat down, in the middle of the dungeon, and dribbled down her chin.

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