Sometimes You Get Mocked By Multiple Species

Posted on February 09, 2018

Normally our group was more than happy to hole up at one of our houses, but on this occasion we knew a local game store owner and decided that we’d run a game in the store itself.

Given the public venue, we opted to let outsiders join in. Both of the new players who joined were younger than the rest of our group. The first newbie was well-read, articulate, and would role-play his character, but never at the expense of the game—a perfect player. The other was the kind who was determined to screw up at every opportunity, a natural born Troublemaker. His character would die every day we played.

House rules had changed the way familiars worked. I had never been able to convince a Wizard to use a familiar, because the cost of failure was too high. So I changed the penalty for a dead familiar to 2d10 damage. Troublemaker heard this and immediately took me up on this opportunity.

We were all sitting around the table in the store: me as DM, the three regulars, the two newbies, and my African Grey parrot, Gandalf the Grey (seriously what else would I name him). Gandalf perched on the back of a chair and watched the game with inscrutable eyes. After the first battle was over, the party came across a bag. It was tied shut, the knot covered with wax, and there were runes inscribed in the wax.

Troublemaker immediately grabbed up the obviously trapped bag. The other players were suspicious, and sat back to watch.

Troublemaker said, "I want my familiar to open the bag."

My knee-jerk reaction was ‘No, your familiar does not want to open the bag’. Then I relented and opted to let the situation role-play itself out. “Okay, let’s see what your familiar thinks about your idea.”

I reached down and picked up an empty dice bag. I brought it towards Gandalf. The African Grey parrot moved to the very edge of the plastic chair, strained his neck so that he could reach the dice bag, and gently took the bag in his beak. Then he violently thrashed his head from side to side and flung the dice bag to the ground in contempt.

The entire party—heck, the entire store—was laughing until they hurt. And, of course, a few minutes later, Troublemaker was rolling up his sixth character.

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