Thursday, 25 June 2015

How Not To Save The World

Let’s not pretend anymore, shall we, dear readers? I suck at updating this regularly. I’ll go through spurts of inspiration, update once a week, maybe once a fortnight, but then I run out of stuff to write, I’m too busy doing other things and the next time I write to you all, I’ll invoke the word LIFE in those precise capital letters and blame it for my silence. So how’s about we start again and accept a simple premise – I’ll update this when I update this. It could be next week, could be three months from now. Who knows. But I haven’t forgotten about you guys, those who still do read this.

Now to set aside the disclaimer and get to the business of explaining the title. Today is a tale of my latest Dungeons & Dragons exploits. Though I feel I should call them my latest misadventures. We spoke of them some time ago and of course, there have been more sessions, more fire and mayhem to add to the anecdotes. This anecdote carries the very simple warning in the title. If you want to save the world, this is how NOT to do it. So, without further ado, an account of our last two sessions and how the events of these should not be duplicated if you want to save the world.

At the start of the first session, we are in pursuit of a traitorous noble. This noble assisted members of a secret organisation in orchestrating the assassination of the Royal Family and several nobles of the court. They succeeded in offing the King (alas) and a couple of major nobles, in spite of our efforts to save them. But this does not end the world, though it is quite tragic.

We pursue and corner the noble. There’s a bit of a bust up, he ends getting his unmentionables bitten by a fox and then through circumstances I can’t recall right now, meets his ignominious end. Probably from the profuse bleeding from aforementioned unmentionables. Then...this shit gets REAL. Somehow, the evil secret organisation intent on bringing about the apocalypse have a GIANT FREAKIN’ CITY hauled by a dirigible. I say city. Huge tanks of a poisonous gas capable of killing a deity, plus ample underside armour and living quarters for the crew.

There are various bits of fun that happen on our way up to the dirigible (including me now owing another member of our party a ship due to my terrible helmsmanship), but it’s what happens on the dirigible that’s the real fun. Notably, my fire mage, in an effort to do...well...I can only surmise Something because I really don’t remember what my precise reasoning was, decides that setting himself on fire INSIDE THE POTENTIALLY COMBUSTIBLE LABS NEXT TO THE POISON TANKS is a great plan. Only it forces the evacuation of non-essential personnel (i.e., the scientists who could stop the gas from being released) and also forcing the dirigible to follow plan B – instead of going to the island with the scary demented goddess that they’re trying to kill with the poison, they will fly over the capital city and drop all the poison on top of it.

There’s a mad dash to the control room, where a pitched battle between some guards, a fire mage, a Halfling rogue, a Drow assassin and a six foot eight barbarian goes...well, a little for the worse really. While we manage to whittle down the guards, in an attempt to finish one off I hurl a fireball at her. Pretty natural move for my fire mage, one that generally elicits the “oh gods” response from my companions and leads them to queue up behind me, just in case. Of course, in the tradition of this evening, I roll a critical fail. Thus my fireball misses the guard and hits the control panel for the dirigible. The guard goes to the panel, it explodes in her face, creating a gaping hole in the dirigible’s control room. Which we’re all in danger of being sucked out of. And that’s how that session ends.

We pick up our next session in our state of distress and luckily our rolls aren’t so bad, so we manage to escape the dirigible through the intervention of some helpful, albeit bloody sneaky, deities, but we don’t manage to stop the poison gas tanks from hitting the ground and exploding...within the dispersion radius of the capital city.


But this isn’t where it all goes horribly wrong, dear readers, oh no. It gets much, much worse from here.

So the main thrust of our quest is that there’s a goddess of destiny, whose goddess lover was murdered, sending her utterly insane and making her want to right the world by enforcing people’s archetypal destinies, regardless of those niggling complexities of LIFE. Now we’re on her island and in order to gain access to her temple, we need to don one of forty masks that represent a destiny or some aspect of. They’re grouped into categories such as Mind, Body, Emotion, etc. These masks are thoroughly, positively BRIMMING with magic. They’re dangerous. We’re warned thus, but we have to put them on to enter the temple. So what do I do? I notice that one lonely, uncategorised mask bearing the name “Eternal”, with its wispy, shadowy apparition-like qualities and say “I’ll have that.”

It all starts out well for me. Every fifteen minutes and I get plus one to all my skills, as well as plus one with all my attacks to hit. Pretty swell. When I get to about plus five, plus six, my DM pulls me aside and explains that I have gained the ability to teleport anywhere I want, at will, so long as I’ve been there before or seen it. But the mask is whispering into my mind...I’m starting to lose touch with my humanity (though, being thrice dead I’m not sure how close to living humanity I really am). I’m beginning to lose interest in the quest.

We go through the temple, we fight the High Priest and some freaky statues and we activate a big fresco that depicts the life and death of the goddess’s lover. In order to make the fresco do more and open the portal to the goddess (or at least the next part of the quest, I wasn’t sure it would lead us straight to the goddess), I touch the crazy crystal things that are actually shards of the goddess’s broken heart. In doing so, I gain a glimpse into the void, the eternal space, full of secrets, whispers and promises of endless knowledge. Suffice it to say, I become a little bit drunk on this and my fire mage really, really wants to get back to the void. So, we open the portal eventually and come upon the goddess, weeping for her dead love.

With my humanity fleeting, I stride up to the goddess, kneel down beside her and say “I have to know. I have to know everything.” My DM makes me roll for this. Bearing in mind, I’m on plus nine for all of my skills now. Doesn’t matter worth a damn. The unholy side of the D20 comes up. That godsforsaken 1. The critical fail.

The goddess reaches out and touches my face. That’s it, game over. Plus ten to all skills. Humanity: GONE. And to top it all off, I gain the ability to dissolve matter AT WILL. Holy frak.

My companions try to talk the goddess down, try to reason with her. The goddess goes a bit madder, producing a fantasy of her dead lover, their trickster god child companion, with my companions playing those parts (the barbarian becomes a tree, as there is no one else present in the fantasy for him to represent). My fire mage is unaffected, probably due to the creepy stuff the Eternal Mask is doing to his mind. Are his companions getting through to her? Is anything happening? Or is she just mad? These thoughts occur to my fire mage, his body covered in roiling shadows, how grows rather impatient. He wants the void. He touched eternity and he wants it. NOW.

“This grows tiresome,” he says, stomping forward, grabbing the goddess by the throat. “If you have nothing more to offer.” And dissolves the matter of the goddess. With that horrifying (at least to mortal ears) shriek of pain as her body dissolves into a black sand that flows away into the ether, the goddess of destiny is erased from existence. Released from her fantasy, the now-no-longer-a-tree barbarian, all six foot eight of this hulking, if naïve and innocent, barbarian comes up to my fire mage and declares that I just killed an innocent woman. My response? To back hand him. Not expecting much, this is a six foot eight barbarian after all. But no. I’m freakishly powerful now apparently. My simple back hand flings him across the room. As he hits the floor, it really, really does all go wrong. Not because he hit the floor. No, that just happens to coincide with a pair of giant hands ripping open the roof of the temple.

It’s Order and Chaos. Parents of the goddess I just erased from existence, creators of the universe, whose return might just herald the end of all things.

Ladies and gentlemen. This is how not to save the world. Do not become, for all intents and purposes, a demigod and proceed to erase a goddess from existence. As fun as it is (and damn proud I am of my role-playing), oh my gods it is a bad idea. Because I just summoned her parents. Who might just end the world.

Here’s hoping next session, I can do better. But I have no humanity and can dissolve matter. I might just try and kill two more deities...

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