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NobodysHome's Silly Serpent's Skull Moments [***Spoilers***]


Serpent's Skull

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As several of you have been following in the obits, I'm running two 11-year-olds and four 14-year-olds through Serpent's Skull. It's an absolute comedy of catastrophe.

Unfortunately, now that they're 5th level, they've stopped dying so much, so I can't entertain in the obits so much. Thus, I'm going to bite the bullet and put in my own "funny vignettes/moments" thread, in case people want to see how NOT to run Serpent's Skull.


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The cast of characters:

With 7 kids, several of whom have never played an RPG before, it's no surprise we've cycled through around a dozen PCs. Through no fault of my own, only my own kids, veterans of several Paizo APs already, have managed not to get their PCs killed at least once.

Here goes number 1 (gotta run, so one at a time for now):

Impus Major: Malek, grippli barbarian. The *only* original "official" passenger on the Jenivere. My eldest is an absolute master of choosing bizarre races, doing bizarre things with them, and making it work. After our epic Rise of the Runelords run with Halek, the NPC Shoanti Lyrune Quah barbarian, my friend made Taleck, his younger, less-appreciated brother, for our ill-fated Second Darkness campaign. Not to be outdone, Impus Major created Malek, their adopted frog brother that no one ever talks about. And he plays him to the hilt. He sucks on people's heads. He randomly eats things. He wears a necklace of his dead friends' fingers in the hopes of being able to afford Resurrections for them all some day in the future. He hits lasciviously on anything he believes to be female. He offends everyone within a 100' radius. His highest Stealth roll EVER has been a 5. And he likes it that way.

And not only does he make it work, but the other players despise him for it. Trouble is, as a full-BAB well-built barbarian, he's their only true melee character. Without him, the party would have perished repeatedly. So they suffer his presence. Much to his (and my) delight.

Lantern Lodge

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NobodysHome wrote:

He sucks on people's heads. He randomly eats things. He wears a necklace of his dead friends' fingers in the hopes of being able to afford Resurrections for them all some day in the future. He hits lasciviously on anything he believes to be female. He offends everyone within a 100' radius. His highest Stealth roll EVER has been a 5. And he likes it that way.

Pure gold!


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Impus Minor: Hooken, half-elf ranger with wolf companion.

Impus Minor plays rangers. Very, very, very well. When the party discusses killing off Malek to relieve themselves of the indignity of having him around, the discussion always turns to, "Well, maybe Hooken could kill him."

Unfortunately, whereas Impus Major plays a farce, Impus Minor is a truly caring, kind, concerned roleplayer, frustrated no end at the ineptitude of his peers. So Hooken would never betray Malek, as Malek is a valued party member.

Unfortunately, Impus Minor makes it VERY clear when he thinks you're NOT a valued party member:

A rampaging hippo was tearing through the party, doing damage that made everyone gasp (2d8+12 vs. 5th-level characters is nothing to sneeze at). Hooken shot and enraged the hippo (I had it attacking the person who had done the most damage the previous round, and with Favored Enemy: Animals Hooken took that honor with spades). Then Hooken took a 5' step behind the horrifically hit-point challenged gunslinger (26 HP at level 5), putting poor Izran square in the hippo's path, and said, "I know you got this, Izran!"

It took 5 minutes to get the table to calm down. Izran is that player's FOURTH PC so far, and it looked like Hooken had just doomed another one...

EDIT: Hooken was on the Jenivere, but as a stowaway.


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*applauds*


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Talky McTalktalk: Narmina, gnome bard.

You know that guy in your group who never stops talking about other campaigns he's been in, other game systems and why they're better than Pathfinder, why his brother is a better GM than you are, his favorite video games of the moment, and so forth?

C'mon, you KNOW you have one in your group.

This guy impresses even me, because while I'm running a combat he wants to talk to me about how great League of Legends or Hearthstone is. He's gotten very accustomed to me telling him to shut up. He takes it with aplomb.

He also plays PFS, so you might have had him at your table. If so, I'm sorry for your loss.

So anyway, he sees builds at PFS tables and tries to build them. Very, very badly.

His first character was a female human multi-classed paladin/zen archer because he wanted to be able to do a Flurry of Blows/Smite Evil combo. But the build was terrible, so she stank. The party rescued her from a shipwreck, then she chose to move in with Pezock rather than continue the campaign. Narmina was rescued from the vegepygmies; the player insisted he wanted a Medium-sized "disguise suit" so he could pretend to be human, but refused to pay any money, feats, or skill points for it (sound familiar? WHY do I have to GM so many of these, "I want this for free for my ROLEplaying" people?). So I gave him a crappy mannequin, but it was enough to fool the vegepygmies into stuffing the mannequin full of fungus instead of him, and Malek into running off with the mannequin for some "quality time" together. (Narmina eventually had to cast Mending on the mannequin.)

FAVORITE MOMENT:
While crossing the Mwangi Expanse, the party spotted smoke on the horizon. Not wanting to risk the entire party, they sent Malek, Hooken, and Narmina to scout ahead. Hooken rolled a 27 on his Stealth. Narmia rolled a 23. Malek rolled a natural 1, which, with my "-5 for natural 1's" house rule, was a -10, as loud as a combat. How could I explain this as a GM? I ruled that Malek's "Stealth" was a miniature Sherman's March to the village. He simply pulled out his kukri and hacked down everything in his path, bellowing a froggy fighting song while doing it, and leaving a 1' wide wake of destruction behind him. (He's just under 2' tall, which makes his antics all the more hilarious.)

Needless to say, village warriors came to challenge him, and he accepted their challenge. Realizing that this tiny 2' frog was walking through a dangerous wilderness like a hurricane, and NOTHING HAD STOPPED IT, the warriors backed down, figuring it was some kind of sending from their gods. Not able to communicate, they drew pictograms in the dirt: A tiny frog for Malek. A group of stick figures for the warriors. And a giant 9' tall clawed beast. They pointed at the beast, and at Malek. He understood. He nodded, struck the image with his earthbreaker, and pounded his chest. The natives had found their hero!

They started feasting him, and Narmina was completely fed up. She stalked into camp. Upon seeing the beautiful gnome, the natives assumed the only logical thing: Here was their hero's mate, come in his wake and under his protection in her delicate beauty! They draped her with flowers, put her next to Malek (who has an unrequited crush on her), and made many rude gestures regarding copulation.

Narmina was furious.

Narmina's player turned downright purple, and sputtered, "I can't believe you just did that to me!"

For once, he was at a loss for words...


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Can't... stop... laughing...


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Mr. Stereotype: Baron Terroskas Terranact, aka Baron because I don't want to bother remembering all that. Syrinx sorcerer.

Former PC: Xethos, kobold sorcerer.

You know "that player", who's bossy enough to push his leadership down everyone's throat, but who hasn't learned a single RPG trope in his entire lifetime? Yep! Got one!

"Let's split the party!"
"Let's sleep in the dungeon even though we know there are some creatures left. And no, we don't need watches."
"The GM is asking whether I really want to do that. He must respect my leadership. Of COURSE I want to do that!"

Oh, Xethos, Xethos, Xethos, where do I begin with you, Xethos?

On Smuggler's Shiv, he had all kinds of wonderful hare-brained schemes, like trying to use a crow's nest from one of the shipwrecks to sail down the one river on the island, to spending two months experimenting with every plant on the island to figure out which ones might be poisonous to the cannibals so they could poison them instead of fighting them, to sleeping in the middle of the cannibal camp after his count revealed at least six cannibals missing.

Baron has demanded that Malek swim alone into the kelpie-infested pearl diving harbor (would have been the end of Malek if Hooken hadn't insisted on coming along), and constantly flies around in spite of my obvious predilection for having every creature within 10 miles attack him every time he takes wing. And he NEVER remembers to put up Mage Armor. Some people never learn.

Anyway, it's impossible to list just one favorite moment with a player like this.

INCIDENT #1: Let's kill a fellow PC!
After Xethos led the party into a disastrous nighttime all-out confrontation with the cannibals, with victory only coming because of Malek's ludicrous tankiness (full defense at a bottleneck while Hooken laid waste with his bow) and the sacrifice of Hooken's animal companion (a suicide attack to take down the witch), Xethos insisted that leaving the camp with 6 cannibals still alive and unaccounted for would be wrong. So he made them sleep. In camp. With cannibals remaining. AND NO WATCH.

So they arranged themselves for the inevitable middle-of-the-night attack, and both Jask (NPC cleric) and Sole (human ninja) perished that night.

INCIDENT #2: Ghouls are not your friends!
As the party holed up in the lighthouse, making repairs in the hopes of eventually being rescued, a curious Nylithati came up to find out what they were doing (of COURSE they hadn't explored the underground to kill her). The first night Xethos had the group lower him down on a rope, and she nearly managed to kill him. Only Malek pulling the paralyzed Xethos back to safety via a sturdy rope saved his life. IN SPITE OF THIS, Xethos continued negotiations with Nylithati. When she found out they were repairing the lighthouse to attract ships and more people to the island, she readily agreed to help them. Cue a quartet of ghouls helping them gather wood and vines, carry things across the island, etc. And NO ONE QUESTIONED WHY THE UNDEAD WERE HELPING THEM!!!!
So yeah, the rescue ship showed up, was swamped in Obscuring Mist, and boarded by ghouls. I had to stop the combat after every single ghoul was towing two crew members, figuring they just had too much to carry to continue their attack. Yeah, they did THAT well.
Best of all, when the captain decried his loss and asked how that could have possibly happened, Xethos responded, "Oh, that was me. I arranged that."

INCIDENT #3: Really, Xethos?
Unfortunately, I finally lost my favorite foil when the rest of the party started trying to rescue a fish Malek had thrown into a hallway to check for traps. Ah, Malek! Barbarian trapfinding at its finest! "I throw a fish! Does anything happen?"
Fed up with the entire party, Xethos walked into the room with the serpentfolk skeletons and their javelins. With no Mage Armor, Shield, or Mirror Images, the serpentfolk skeletons could hardly miss.
Xethos plunged to the ground a corpse before round 2.

On the bright side, once the soulbound dolls creeped out the entire party Malek started trying to plug every hole in the room with bits of Xethos, leading to even more hilarity at the player's expense.

At some point he's going to stop trying to solo everything, or order people to do suicidal things. Until then, long live Baron!


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I do trust he's playing characters with a 3 in Wisdom.


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Tangent101 wrote:
I do trust he's playing characters with a 3 in Wisdom.

Hey, right now I'm scheduled to be prepping Crimson Throne for tomorrow, but in the back of my mind I'm trying to come up with a good nickname for "Dead Boy", he of the 4 (nearly 5) PCs so far...

Mr. Stereotype doesn't even get the lowest wisdom in the party!!


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What's the name of the Bard from The Gamers 2? ;)


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Deady McDeaddead: Izran, undine gunslinger. I worry for Izran's fate because we roll for hit points, and he's rolled terribly. Deady also has a tendency to like melee combat, so one of these days, a random crit is going to add another notch to Deady's belt. Also, I've never run or GM'ed a gunslinger, so he's trying to build one on his own, and man are they useless if you don't know how to build them! Hitting touch AC doesn't mean much when you're doing 1d8 points per round, and it's costing you 11 gp per bullet... Pretty soon Deady's going to decide Izran is useless, and Izran will commit suicide in some weird way.

Now, to be fair, this is the other 11-year-old in the group, so immaturity is kind of expected. On the other hand, he was the very first non-family member to join, so he's been doing this for a year or two now. Of course, he contributed to the infamous crash-and-burn of my attempt at Shattered Star (Impus Minor's PC pickpocketed Impus Major's PC, Impus Major's PC attacked Impus Minor's PC, Deady McDeaddead's PC attacked both of them, and all of this was in front of a hostile NPC who waited for them to beat each other senseless, then joined in, took them all down, captured them, and the campaign was all downhill from there.)

So anyway, let's just focus on the multitude dead PCs McDeaddead leaves in his wake:

Sole, human druid: So, this one I feel partially responsible for. Deady decided that druids sounded fun. Trouble is, he had no idea what a druid was. No Knowledge: Nature. No Survival. Random spells that did no good whatsoever on a deserted island. Terrible rolling. Sole had the unique distinction of being the single-most-useless PC I've ever run. So everyone started referring to him as the "useless druid", and every failed roll resulted in further hilarity. He couldn't swim. He couldn't climb. He couldn't track. He couldn't identify useful plants. He couldn't identify animals. He never once hit anything with his weapon. A sheer Magnum Opus of ineffectiveness the likes of which have rarely been seen. So Sole became despondent and suicidal, and couldn't even get that right. He'd run up to fight monsters, only to have Malek attract their attention by actually hitting them. He tried to drown himself, but Malek was able to overcome his pathetic CMD and drag him back to shore. When Xethos trapped the area around camp to prevent nighttime encounters, Sole managed to knock himself to exactly -1 hit points on one, then stabilize.
The party finally took mercy, healed him up to just one or two hit points, and let him jump onto another of Xethos' traps.

Jason, elf ninja: Deady *finally* made a character he liked. He was stealthy, he got in sneak attacks, he was effective... and so HE was lying asleep at the door when the surviving cannibals raided the camp at night. I forgot to mention in Xethos' epic post that he also didn't think they should "waste" healing between combats, so Jason was at barely over half hit points. A couple of hits from barbarian cannibals, including a crit, ended Jason's short reign as a competent, useful, well-liked character for Deady.

Blaarg Cracktooth, half-orc barboracle: Deady obviously had a predilection for being in the front lines of every fight, but suffered from a horrific lack of hit points, and also wanted to be able to cast spells. Grooming him to be a Rage Prophet seemed the natural way to go, so I built Blaarg for him, and I have to say, he was a pretty darned good build. As many hit points as Malek, hit as hard as Malek, and healing and buff spells to boot. What could go wrong?
Remember the rescue ship that had 3/4 of its crew carried off by ghouls, only to have Xethos admit, "Oh, that was me"?
Well, during the resulting melee, Hooken and Narmina managed to convince the captain and his crew to stay their hands by promising to rescue their shipmates AND pay for all the required Cure Disease spells. Pretty much, "We'll give up every scrap of treasure we earned on this island if you'll get us off." A huge Diplomacy roll had everything going swimmingly... except Blaarg inexplicably kept fighting. Not wanting to lose their delicate truce, Hooken had his wolf trip Blaarg, knocking him prone. Blaarg kept fighting.
Every round I would say, "OK, this round they do... 22 hit points. Do you stop?"
"NO!!!"
Eventually, he was beaten to death by an angry crew.
I still have no idea why he did it.


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This is just a guess, maybe he wanted to make his own character, my daughter can't use a character very long she hasn't personally made from the ground up, without any outside help or advice :-)


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captain yesterday wrote:
This is just a guess, maybe he wanted to make his own character, my daughter can't use a character very long she hasn't personally made from the ground up, without any outside help or advice :-)

Good point. That may have been it. He didn't say.

Don't you run a gunslinger in one of your campaigns? Is there some way to make them better than, "I do 1d8 every other round?"


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Great now you're making me look for a character I haven't used in 6 months... rapid reload and at 7th level their abilities really start taking off, Dead shot alone should wreck most encounters, also rapid reload is a necessity :-) improving your critical threat is also smart

Edit: yeah should definitely get rapid reload, I have a Vanara, mostly because of the image of him using his tail to reload :-) it really should be a bonus feat every gunslinger gets, but that might make them more powerful and thus get the nerdrage balance party into a frothy rage :-)


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Also at 5th level he'll get fun training, which adds the dexterity modifier to damage, and I might have mentioned how essential rapid reload is:-D

Also when in doubt add more smurf :-)

Edit: lol, my phone changed gun to fun, I'm leaving it in, however I did mean gun training up above :-) although it never hurts to do some fun training as well, cover your bases and what not :-)


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This thread is awesome.


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Our last two PCs haven't had a chance to do anything monumental, so we'll roll them together into one post:

Omniel Baldwin, half-elf druid of unknown gender.
Omniel's player is a very quiet fellow, but a fantastic doodler. He drew many, many awesome sketches of the (mis)adventures of Malek and crew. I honestly can't say which was my favorite: The sketch of Malek expressing his undying love for Narmina, or the very disturbing sketch of Femalek, the female grippli barbarian.
So I have no idea why our doodler quit: Too much chaos, too much grief over refusing to divulge Baldwin's gender, or just school stuff. But he played for a few weeks, did some awesome doodles, and moved on.

Voran Derper, male tiefling alchemist.
OK, when you hear the words, "14-year-old playing a CN tiefling alchemist" you think, "Oooh! Chaos!"
So imagine my disappointment when he turned out to be the single-most cautious alchemist I've ever seen. Pretty much every combat is, "Malek rolls higher Initiative. Malek runs in and hits something. Voran, for fear of doing splash damage to Malek and enraging him, chooses to do nothing instead."
He's refused to throw a bomb in a rainforest for fear of catching it on fire. He's refused to throw a bomb in most combats because he doesn't want to do splash damage to his allies. So he just sits around with a bag full of bombs and shoots a crossbow to no effect instead.
*SIGH*

Anyway, Nobodyswife has been sick in bed for a few days, but once she's on her feet again I'll summarize a few more anecdotes about this group...


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Has she tried not being sick?

I personally deny it the entire time, results vary:-)


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To me, that sounds very chaotic. I mean, everyone expects a CN alchemist to be a bomb-crazy mad bomber who bombs at midnight. That he didn't means he acted against the tradition of the mad bombers who bomb at midnight which is thus a chaotic act!

His hesitation to throw bombs that could anger a big burly barbarian or ignite a rainforest shows he's got intelligence as well.

That said, he'd probably have done better with the Investigator Class. No bombs, but still alchemical. ;)


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Tangent101 wrote:

To me, that sounds very chaotic. I mean, everyone expects a CN alchemist to be a bomb-crazy mad bomber who bombs at midnight. That he didn't means he acted against the tradition of the mad bombers who bomb at midnight which is thus a chaotic act!

His hesitation to throw bombs that could anger a big burly barbarian or ignite a rainforest shows he's got intelligence as well.

That said, he'd probably have done better with the Investigator Class. No bombs, but still alchemical. ;)

+2 for the Tick reference. The moment it was made available on DVD our kids were required to watch every. Single. Episode.

(Not the "meh" live-action one, but the original comic-book-inspired cartoon that was itself inspired, but in a wonderfully twisted way...)


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I'm old school. I got my Tick from the comic books. =^-^=


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At the risk of completely derailing this topic, but I think BatManuel was far superior to Die Fledermaus as a sidekick who didn't know he was a sidekick.

But both the live action and cartoon were seriously missing Paul the Samurai and a Million Zillion Ninjas.


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I don't think it's possible to derail a thread with "Silly" in the title, unless you get serious.

And I'll respectfully disagree. My wife and I *hated* BatManuel, and wished for Die Fledermaus.

"Is that a poodle in your gun or are you just happy to see me? AIYEEEEEE!!!!"

EDIT: If we get a chance, we REALLY want to stock up on the old comic books, but we're hard-pressed for space right now...


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Come now people, you know the rules, it's not officially derailed until Captain Yesterday says something way off-topic about his kids and/or Star Wars..... The young Princess of Summer is going on a field trip to the Humane Society today, my favorite quote "..And we get to help clean the pens!!" Said with genuine enthusiasm :-)

I don't have anything Star Wars related... for now :-)


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I also have nothing Tick related, except I wish the T.V. show had a bigger budget, I also need to chase the cartoon down online :-)


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Where are they now in what's left of the plot?


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Supperman wrote:
Where are they now in what's left of the plot?

They're trying to get to Tazion (Taizon?). The way they play, it's one fight per session. At one session per week, the trip across the Mwangi Expanse has been... expansive.

Anyway, horrific work day today, but over the weekend I'll post a bit on such things....


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Ah the joys of gaming with teens!

What's sad is when adults do the same kinds of things.

BTW: Kale says Hi!


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pachristian wrote:

Ah the joys of gaming with teens!

What's sad is when adults do the same kinds of things.

BTW: Kale says Hi!

Oh my goodness! Look who's on the Paizo boards and everything!

Don't you go embarrassing me in front of Captain Yesterday now!

NO MONKEY STORIES!!!!


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now i gotta make a monkey themed alias...... This might take awhile.... I had one but.... its not appropriate and sends the wrong message:-)


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Psst! Pass it on


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I like Elephant stories, never mind I don't want to be a bother... I'll just stand over here.... out of the way... do you have any 7up.. No Sprite it irritates my throat... never mind I'll just riffle through your medicine cabinet... Don't you have any non generic ibuprofen... never mind don't mind me....


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Young Princess of Summer's homemade rocket went the highest:-)


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NobodysHome wrote:
I don't think it's possible to derail a thread with "Silly" in the title, unless you get serious.

Now I'm tempted to channel Darkwing Duck. ;)


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... Lets get Dangerous!


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Phase I: The Mysterious Minds of the Original Three

So, after multiple crash-and-burn campaign incidents (a homebrew Runequest 2 campaign with just the Impii, a homebrew Pathfinder campaign with the Impii and then Deady McDeaddead, and then Shattered Star with the Impii and Deady), I had high hopes for Serpent's Skull: Stranded on a desert island with nothing to do but explore, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, you know that verb, "Explore"? Apparently it's overrated in Kidland.

We started with a fairly by-the-book opening. Malek started the journey all the way back in Magnimar, so I got to spend some time describing the journey, the various ports of call, Hooken's ill-fated attempt to stow away (I believe it was Sole who set the bar very high for himself by rolling a natural 20 on his first-ever Perception roll), and Sole joining on a research mission at some port or other.

So it went beautifully: They got to know their fellow passengers a bit (all taking an instant dislike to Gelik, much to my delight), they all drank the poisoned wine, they all ended up shipwrecked, and Ishirou came out on fire, slaughtering the initial eurypterids with ease and gaining the respect of the PCs.

Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Malek rolled a massive Survival roll, they set up camp and... sat around.
They didn't even go back to the wreck of the Jenivere to explore it!!!

So the next day (YES! Once they had camp set up they just sat there for a day!) Gelik rolled a truly hopeless Morale roll, and then the camp was attacked by a constrictor snake. Sticking with the theme of, "We don't feel like doing anything," the group watched as the snake attacked Gelik (favorite quote: Sole's player said, "I want to see what it does first"), he panicked and ran back to the wreck (giving us our first obituary entry), and once it finally had no targets except them they decided they had to do something and killed the snake.

FINALLY, they explored the shipwreck (looting Gelik's gear in the process) and started very tentative exploration of the island. But it was, "We go out, we have one encounter, we go back to our nice safe camp."

It was a good week of game time before Morale finally started really hammering the NPC castaways and Aerys got a really bad case of Red Ache. Jask was proving himself incredibly useful (a series of spectacular Morale rolls), so the group finally dared to leave him him charge and leave camp for more than a day. But then one of them got hurt and so they decided to start taking Jask with them, leaving a demoralized and near-panicked Sasha, an *amazingly* unhelpful Ishirou, and a disease-ridden Aerys alone in camp.

So when I rolled a random encounter for the camp and got Pezock, he came in, Sasha panicked and fled, and Aerys and Ishirou happily went with him.

It was wonderful to see the kids' faces as they came back to an empty camp, seeing only the signs of an enormous bird walking all over their camp, and two of their three castaways going with it.

They tracked Sasha, but I'd been rolling randomly for her directions and she ended up in a venomous snake's nest. It was an epic fight, but she ended up being on the losing side. She was Malek's first crush, so when he found her body, he screamed, "Sashaaaaaa!!!" to the sky, killed the snake that had killed her, and took her finger as the start of his infamous necklace.

They were convinced that the bird thing that had visited their camp was an evil sorcerer of some kind, and that's when Talky McTalktalk joined in with his paladin...

Eventually, just to have them MOVE, I rolled Pezock as a random encounter and had him lead the castaways


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Phase II: Hurry up and Do Nothing!!!

After a few sessions of complete fruitlessness in getting the kids to do ANYTHING, Impus Major asked whether his friend Talky McTalktalk could join in. I said, "Sure," figuring new blood might help kick-start the campaign. His bizarre paladin/zen archer build coupled with his constant complaints about how stupid Lawful Good was gave me pause, but what the heck?

So I don't even have the character sheet for the paladin lying around any more, but all I remember is, "We have to explore the island! Aaaah! Is that a brown bird in the trees?!?! Stay away!! It must be a trap!!"

Talky has the dubious distinction of having a very good idea as to WHAT needs to be done, combined with an abject terror of actually DOING it. Most. Cowardly. Paladin. EVER.

Even better, she was Malek's second crush, and she had a paladin-like Perception roll, so when they finally started running into the cannibals' traps, she'd get swung up the tree, banged against the spikes, and then helpful Malek would either climb up to cut her down, or stand beneath her to catch her when someone else cut the rope. (And of course, being Malek, the first time he tried to catch her he rolled a natural 20 on his Strength check. True Love!)

So basically they met Pezock and learned that the remaining NPCs had been taken by cannibals to the south, befriended Aycenia and learned of the dangerous dead island to the north, and decided to avoid them both!

*SIGH*


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So last night *SOOOOOOOO* epitomized my group I have to share, even though it's out of order.

They'd just done away with Itombu the shadow demon and were resting to regain spells and so forth. When I had them set up watches, the camp, and even the horses, they knew something was up.

So the randomly-rolled dire tiger randomly rolled who it was going to attack at night and got... a horse! Made perfect sense! And a 60-hit-point hit on its surprise round convinced the party they didn't want to deal with it.
So we went through a few rounds of initiative: The party backed carefully away, not attracting the tiger's attention. The tiger was happy to eat the horse until a riding dog attacked it, at which point the dog also perished. Party members were arguing whether to run away because it was too much for them to handle, or stay and fight because all their gear was on the horses that were destined to be eaten.

So of course eventually Izren (Deady McDeadDead) decided to shoot it... for 3 points of damage, and one pissed-off tiger. To everyone's utter astonishment, the tiger rolled a natural 1 on one of its claw attacks and didn't kill Izren outright. Everyone else attacked, including that irritation-in-the-sky Baron, who made sure he knew the tiger's jumping range was 30', and got himself to 40' before getting its attention.
Fortunately for Izren, he completely fumbled his attempted dagger stab and Hooken hit it for quite a bit, so the tiger dropped Izren and Hooken got its undivided attention.

But where, oh where, was Malek? Well, first Malek started putting on his armor. Then, when Izren fired the "Shot Heard Round the Jungle", Malek ran over to hang out with Hooken and N'kechi. Unfortunately, this created a huge "glom" of PCs as Narmina and Voran were also there, Narmina buffing and Voran trying fairly intelligent things like using alchemical caltrops to prevent the tiger from charge attacking any more.

So there we stood. Malek raged and power attacked to little effect, and then it came: Mr. Stereotype's Grand Maneuver: "I reduce my altitude to 30' and hit the tiger with a Scorching Ray."

Do I have any idea whatsoever why Mr. Stereotype decided to reduce his altitude to within the tiger's stated jumping range? Nope. none at all. Except perhaps his utter faith in the universe's belief in Malek.

The tiger jumped. Malek rolled his attack of opportunity. And, if I hadn't been right there at the table, I would simply not believe this tale.

Malek crit the tiger with his x3 earthbreaker. While raging. And power attacking. And buffed by a bard. Right there. At the table, rolling in the open.

57 points of damage later, I described the tiger attempting its leap, only to have Malek bring his earthbreaker down at the top of its ribcage, shattering its chest, ripping its ribcage partially open, and causing its still-beating heart to drop to the ground at Malek's feet. I described how Malek picked up the heart and started eating it. And Impus Major said, "Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I do!"

So yeah. Malek. Again. N'kechi is now convinced he's traveling with some kind of demigod.

And the most hilarious thing: The night ended because they found 4 Aspis Consortium agents drowned in quicksand, and Talky McTalktalk (aka "Mr. Overly Cautious") vehemently argued against investigating the site... at all!

Fun times!


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So...

They are fervently defending their right to sit around and do nothing?

This reminds me of a Pulp/Call of Cthulhu game. We had a character who was a former cop PI (he'd quit the force over corruption). When a man staggered into the speakeasy the characters were hanging out in, fell dead with a knife in his back, and a suspicious-looking letter addressed to one of the PC's hanging out of his coat pocket. This PC stood over the body to prevent anyone from touching it, and told the other PC's to call the police, so the police could get over and investigate the crime right away.

What can you do? It's a risk-adverse culture, so getting them to see the fun of risk can be a little challenging.

Maybe you should start awarding experience for taking action, any action.
If a player has an idea, and follows it up, that counts as a CR 1 encounter. If they have good idea and follow it up, that's a CR 2. Allow players to split the party; some can stay back at camp, some don't. Divide the XP by the total number of party members, but only award it to the people who go out and do things.


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pachristian wrote:

So...

They are fervently defending their right to sit around and do nothing?

This reminds me of a Pulp/Call of Cthulhu game. We had a character who was a former cop PI (he'd quit the force over corruption). When a man staggered into the speakeasy the characters were hanging out in, fell dead with a knife in his back, and a suspicious-looking letter addressed to one of the PC's hanging out of his coat pocket. This PC stood over the body to prevent anyone from touching it, and told the other PC's to call the police, so the police could get over and investigate the crime right away.

What can you do? It's a risk-adverse culture, so getting them to see the fun of risk can be a little challenging.

Maybe you should start awarding experience for taking action, any action.
If a player has an idea, and follows it up, that counts as a CR 1 encounter. If they have good idea and follow it up, that's a CR 2. Allow players to split the party; some can stay back at camp, some don't. Divide the XP by the total number of party members, but only award it to the people who go out and do things.

Oh, once Mr. Stereotype joined all my problems were solved... delightfully! He insists on taking an action. Everyone else is so terrified of what he has in mind that they insist on taking a DIFFERENT action.

Actions occur, problem solved! :-P


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NobodysHome wrote:


Oh, once Mr. Stereotype joined all my problems were solved... delightfully! He insists on taking an action. Everyone else is so terrified of what he has in mind that they insist on taking a DIFFERENT action.

Actions occur, problem solved! :-P

Ah, Leadership. It comes in so many different ways!


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NobodysHome wrote:

They'd just done away with Itombu the shadow demon

I like how your group apparently didn't have much trouble with the hardest encounter in the book.


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Supperman wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

They'd just done away with Itombu the shadow demon

I like how your group apparently didn't have much trouble with the hardest encounter in the book.

Well, it specifically states that hitting the demon with the shrunken head automatically banishes it. Without the head, it would have been an easy TPK.

With the head you get kids... shrunken head... you know, "Let's throw it and see what happens!"

It was a pretty cool, pretty brief, by-the-book encounter. They killed the ape, the shadow demon came out, Hooken had the higher initiative, and had no trouble clubbing it with the shrunken head.

SOME things are easy for them to figure out!

The quoted section is:
The PCs may make a DC 25 Sense Motive check to realize the ape is not acting normally and is under some sort of magical control. If the PCs recognize that the ape is possessed and received the Zenj spirit fetish from the shaman in area E, they can use it to exorcise the shadow demon from the ape’s body and banish it back to the Abyss. If they do not recognize the possession, they will have to wait until the shadow demon exits the ape’s body to try that tactic.

(And notice at the top of the thread is does say SPOILERS in all caps!)


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Addendum: In fact, if I had a separate thread of "Cool Serpent's Skull" moments, the shadow demon fight would be there. It was such an epitome of cooperation and competence it was hard to believe my group of kids pulled it off.

Malek tanked the ape while Narmina buffed and everyone else laid into it. When they'd leveled up after the village encounter I asked Impus Minor where he wanted to be carrying the head (Hero Labs is great about letting you place every item, so there's no argument as to whether something was on a PC's belt, backpack, horse, or what-have-you), and he wanted it "on his belt in case I need it." Fair enough.

So the big question of that fight was just, "What kind of action is it to come out of the body when the host body is killed?"

Magic Jar lists it as a full-round action to try to take a body, and a standard action to switch bodies. So I figured at least a standard action was fair. Thus, the shadow demon lost a round getting popped out, and that was just enough time for Hooken to move up and hit it.

But the discussion was AWESOME! Once it popped out, Narmina rolled a massive Knowledge: Planes to identify it, and imagine my surprise when the whole group asked, "Is it evil? Is it from another plane? HIT IT WITH THE HEAD!!!!"

Smart kids.

And knowing full well that if he missed Malek would be taken over and they might have a TPK on their hands, I watched everyone at the table get huge eyes as Impus Minor rolled... a natural 17 to easily hit the demon even with a -4 for an unusual weapon, and the whole table exploded in cheers.

(I gave 'em their level 6 level-ups just for that encounter, so they all went home ecstatic that night. GREAT session!)


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You, my friend, are a good GM.

You're making the game fun for kids after all. That isn't always easy! :)


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Phase III: The Rise of Xethos
I really wish I'd started this thread months ago, because Xethos' introduction to the party involved so much hilarity:

  • They finally captured a group of cannibals, and, on learning they didn't share a language, Xethos' player started in, "I draw a picture of a sinking ship and then pointing at us."
    "The cannibal laughs and smacks his lips."
    "Then I draw a picture indicating that if he doesn't tell us where his village is, how to sneak in, and where the guards are, we're going to torture him."
    "You're going to draw WHAT? Just for yuks, why don't you draw that picture for me right now on the mat. I'd really like to see it."
    "..."
  • The vegepygmy ship. Ah, the vegepygmy ship! How I wish I could remember this accurately. I know that on seeing the rope bridges, Xethos sent Malek on ahead alone. As usual, Hooken followed against Xethos' wishes. (Hooken's constant backup is the only reason Malek is alive today). Malek ended up fleeing with half his hit points from a swarm of angry vegepygmies.
    (Our friend runs convention games where some players are supposed to betray other players, with no one at the table quite sure who's a friend and who's an enemy. Somehow I think Xethos's player would be great at those...)
  • On their second assault on the ship, I know that I kept Jask back on shore, as his dumped Dex made him a shoo-in to fall off the rope bridge. Nevertheless, as the fight raged, those hiding on shore (Xethos included) insisted that he cross. Cue a natural 1 and Jask's plunge into the surf below, also cueing side-splitting facial expressions from the kids as their sole healer was about to drown. Deady McDeaddead's character du jour (I'm pretty sure it was Jason the ninja) had to abandon the combat to dive in and save him.
  • I was trying to introduce Narmina as a captive in the hold of the ship (Talky McTalktalk was fed up with his paladin's uselessness in combat. Who would have thought that multiclassing monk-paladin at 2nd level could be so bad?). Unfortunately, the group had NO interest in going into the hold. On their first foray, Narmina used an Ear-Piercing Scream to try to get their attention. They ran away. The second time, when they finally went into the hold (with some encouragement), an intra-party fight broke out (literally. They were hitting each other post-combat) because some party members wanted to kill Narmina, and others wanted her to join the party.
    Separation of the person from the PC? Yeah, my kids have that down pat. "Why should we trust this strange gnome woman just because we found her captive on a boat?"
    "She's pretty." (Malek's full and complete argument in favor of keeping her around.)
  • Finally, their honest-and-true game plan was Xethos' idea to spend TWO FULL MONTHS on the island, force-feeding a captive cannibal a native plant every day until they found a poisonous one, then poisoning the entire camp. They had no desire whatsoever to fight the camp.

    Next up: Bonfires and Hero the goat...


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    [b]Finally, their honest-and-true game plan was Xethos' idea to spend TWO FULL MONTHS on the island, force-feeding a captive cannibal a native plant every day until they found a poisonous one, then poisoning the entire camp. They had no desire whatsoever to fight the camp.

    Well, that's one way to make a Knowledge:Nature check.

    Lantern Lodge

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    You should have had the cannibal get to a truly poisonous fruit (though perhaps with a delayed onset), eating it with great joy and proclaiming its goodness in an effort to end it for himself and hopefully get someone else in the party to try it.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
    justaworm wrote:
    You should have had the cannibal get to a truly poisonous fruit (though perhaps with a delayed onset), eating it with great joy and proclaiming its goodness in an effort to end it for himself and hopefully get someone else in the party to try it.

    Oh, it gets very, VERY good as they seek out cannibals on whom to test this process... stay tuned!

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