Friday, April 10, 2020

That Time Our Bard Accidentally Started A Zombie Apocalypse

...Yeah. Normally when I say a character goes full bard, it involves trying to seduce another character for gain, be it money, information, or favors. However in this case, it comes more from the bard not giving due consideration to her actions, which wasn't out of character for her by any means, but I would say this was the worst example of this particular trait cropping up. Full disclosure, this bard was played by my wife, and she gave me permission to throw some shade.

Setting the stage, we were travelling to find a way to hatch some dragon eggs that ended up in our possession after stopping a cult from summoning the draconic goddess Tiamat. After the ritual was disrupted, several of the eggs were destroyed with us making it out with two of them, hoping to hatch them be honest I'm not 100% sure on what the plan with them afterward was, but whatever, not important.

Part of our travel involved us taking a raft down a river, as it was faster than walking along the banks. Well, a few days into the journey we noticed a couple of different symbols cut into the trees on either bank of the river, but nobody was able to figure out where they came from.

Long story short, orcs. On each side of the river. And one morning we were awakened to our raft (and the horse-drawn carriage on it) being peppered with arrows. They wouldn’t be reasoned with, they wanted us dead and wouldn’t accept anything less, so we attempted to escape

Well, that was the idea, anyway. In this particular game, my character was a monk whom the GM has previously allowed/encouraged to use ki points in order to do feats of strength beyond what’s in the PHB and other books, such as throwing one of the other PCs for one reason or another, and this time our Dwarf Fighter wanted to be thrown to one of the riverbanks to try to fend off the orcs. Bear in mind this is a force of about 15 on each side of the river riding on direwolves, so they were fast and their numbers were great. A bad idea in its purest form.

So naturally I went along with it since our Dwarf had shown himself capable of doing ridiculous things like this before/the GM just kinda went with it. His player believes that cool stories are what make tabletop RPGs fun, and I’m not going to complain about that.

Anyway, after a few dice rolls, the Dwarf was in the fray against a group of orcs and the rest of the party was focused on trying to shake the rest of them. We weren't sure how the Dwarf would fare against the horde, and my character decided to jump off the raft and swim to shore. While this was happening, on the raft, our Red Dragonborn Paladin was...encouraged by the GM to attempt to use his flame breath in combination with a magical item that he was carrying that would amplify it in order to turn himself into a makeshift jet engine to speed up the raft. The cone of flame extending from him reached far enough on shore to actually completely scorch a huge chunk of the orc forces. Why this idea was planted in his head is something I’ll come back to, but either way, my character made it to the shore and started fighting his way to the group of orcs that the Dwarf was then in the process of...completely annihilating. I didn’t really need to do anything here.

Anyway, since my character was flanking one of the mounted orcs, a simple attack would have sufficed to get the jump on them. Instead, however, I opted to, quoting myself, “Do something stupid.” I told the GM that I wanted to jump onto the direwolf and throw the mounted orc off, and after a strength check that should have ended poorly (this character's strength isn’t that fantastic), not only was the orc off the direwolf, but after a quick dice roll from the GM, it was determined that he fell into the river, which was currently picking up speed. A few rounds and dice rolls later, it was determined that this orc drowned instead of reaching safety.

After dispatching the remaining orcs on that side of the river, the two of us that were ashore mounted the freshly terrified direwolf and began making their way to the raft that the rest of the party was now struggling to keep under control in the high speeds. The orc force on the other side of the river was now beginning to break off, the raft began to slow down, and the PCs reconvened to plan their next move.

For whatever reason, it occurred to our wood-elf bard to attempt to find one of the dead orcs, reanimate it with magic, and attempt to get it to tell us why we were attacked, and in short order, a freshly drowned orc floated to the raft. Well, we never figured out why they attacked us, but as a consolation our bard decided to command him to return to its home, and even gave him a name, Frank. As in, Frankenstein. Because all he could do was moan. Yeah. Anyway, Frank then started walking in the same direction the raft was headed, so out of curiosity (I guess) we followed it to a fortress that controlled a gate on the river.

Some more shenanigans later, and our bard got to Frank infiltrate his own ranks and open the gate on the river. As in, she commanded him to go in, walk to the control room of the gate, and open it. Which of course meant some dice rolls that Frank (somehow) effortlessly passed, tricking his poor brethren into more or less doing our bidding for us.

Anyway, about the river. Turns out the gate had completely dammed the river, causing it to dry up on the other side, because once the gate opened, the raft was gushed through at a breakneck speed. The GM later said that, because he had planned this part of the map, he’d hoped that our the Paladin would exhaust his flame breath before the gate so we wouldn’t be tempted to make things worse.

Anyway, gate’s open and we have a zombie that our bard is soon to lose control over, so what does she do? Tell him to go untie one of the horses we left behind at the fortress and then stab himself. You’ll notice I said stab himself, not kill himself. So he did just that. Untied the horse, sent it on its way, pulled out a knife, stabbed himself, did a small amount of damage, and then wandered back into the fortress, where I’m sure it’ll NEVER bother anybody ever again.

Is what I would say if it weren’t for the crap eating grin on the GM’s face as he made a few dice rolls, and, at the end, happily stated that, “Frank had a REALLY good day after you guys left.”

So, in true RPG hero fashion, we saved the day by making everything worse. Awesome.

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