Ninja Gets His Monkey But He Is Going To Regret It!
I just can’t win. After weeks of begging, weeks of driving both me and his own girlfriend insane, Grill Ninja got his wish. His insane little Artificer will get his damnable Mechanical Monkey. I acquiesced because I just couldn’t take the incessant begging and randomness of his comments. “Say James” he’d quip, “you know what could’ve daved the party from that erupting volcano? A Mechanical Monkey!”. This is the insanity I must deal with every week. Oh, but there is the the rest of the party that, while not nearly as maddening as Ninja can be, has their own odd quirks.
Let us start with dear friend Cindi. Cindi plays a Bamboo Spirit Folk Sohei. A Sohei is basically a temple gaurdian who gain lesser holy spells as well as the ability to enter a ‘Ki Frenzy’ which helps them in combat. Cindi has named her character Uki and in combat Uki makes a fine accounting of herself. It is in the non-combat stuff that Uki tends to screw up. Need to Uki to jump 15 feet across to save herself from boiling lave? Yeah, not so much on the success on that one. Need Uki to make a ‘Knowledge Religion’ check to help the party learn about the gods of Igano? She is a Temple Gaurdian after all so she should be able to do that right? Watch Cindi pick-up a 20 sided di and roll a 1. Another problem is that when Ro views the situation as hopeless, she resigns to let her character die. As the DM, this frustrates me no end. I know Cindi is going ot end up reading this and deny she does this, but I’ve been her DM before and believe me this is not an uncommon occurence.
I believe that no matter if the dice are against you that day, you do everything you can to keep your character alive. The aforementioned ‘Pit Of Lava’ scenario happened this past week. The entire party had gotten them stuck on a stone platform inside the center of an active volcano. The platform had been jetisoned from the volcano, sending everyone 75 feet in the air. Realizing that if they didn’t move fast, they’d all be dead the rest of the partymade crazy jumps and landed safely on nearby ledges on the inside ridge of the volcano. Well everyone except Cindi’s Uki. Poor Uki failed her jump heck and Ro immeadiately went into her “Well cmy haracter is dead, I have to make a new one” mode. I told her that she could try again. Well she tried again and, again, failed miserablly. So Cindi went back into the ‘My character is dead! I need to make a new one! BUT YOU WON’T LET ME PLAY AN ELF RANGER!’. In the end, I came up with a maguffin plot device to save her character, which is really poor GM fom, but I’m really not a “I’m going to kill them all” Game Master. I’ve got a story to tell and one way another it is getting told dammit!
Then there is dear Melissa. Ninja’s girlfriend is utterly cool because she totally gets the joke (Note: If you are asking ‘What Joke?’, then you obviously don’t get it). She is playing a Spirit Folk Ranger. A spirit Folk Ranger with an African name. A Spirit Folk Ranger with an African name I can’t remember who also happens to be a lesbian. To say that Melissa’s thinking is slightly ‘outside the box’ is a bit of an understatement. To try to reign in her in a bit I decided to give her traveling companion in the form of a boy named Kwan. This will prove to be my undoing as a GM. If something goes wrong, Melissa blames Kwan. If Melissa’s character gets injured she blames Kwan. If Melissa’s character finds herself falling into the aforementioned lava pit, she is quick to pull poor Kwan in front of herself. In fact I should be giving her an Armor Class bonus at this point because she ALWAYS uses Kwan as a shield. Kwan was meant ot be a burden to her. Kwan was meant to screw things up for her. Instead Kwan is part of her master strategy in any combat situation. I fear what will happen when Kwan and Ninja’s Mechanical Monkey team-up. The sad thing is, Kwan wasn’t even supposed tobe a recurring character. Hell, he ran away at the first sign of trouble when I first introduced him. It was just, Melissa blaming Kwan for the party’s misfortune was just so damn funny that I HAD to bring him back. At least Kwan has a dagger now and can defend himself. (Note: Yes, I totaly forgot the name of Melissa’s character. It starts wit han M or something… some letter in the alphabet I think).
Next week we’ll cover the other 2 party members in Josh’s Harvard Educated Barbarian and Ninja and his damn Artificer. This party requires an insane amount of patience to deal with and it is very hard to not have devolve into one giant unintentional comedy campaign. The only thing stopping it from doing that is yours truly, th Game Master. Despite all the silliness and non-sequiters that keep popping up, despite Kwan continually getting Melissa’s way and despite Cindi wanting to roll-up a new character after her current one stubs her toe, th game progresses… albeit slowly. I mean when push comes to shve, when combat breaks out they pretty much butcher the oppostion. It is like reading Lone Wolf & Cub what with the sheer carnage that will happen in 2 rounds of combat (minus the baby cart). Cindi’s Uki when teamed Melissa make a frightening duo. 2 rounds of combet, 4 dead gaurds. Between Uki’s naginata and Melissa shooting everyone full of arrows none of the shit I throw at them has no chance.
The truth is, I’ve been coddling my players. I need to remember that as much as I want the story to progress, I need to make an honest effort to KILL at least one of them. So, the kid gloves are off. No more Mister Nice Game Master. Starting next session the gears to the meat grindr will be churning so I can turn them into perfect little sausages. Sure there will be the usual comedy and liberal use of anime references but there is a time to advance a story and a time to kill your party members. It is way overdue for the latter to occur. Time to bait my hook and lead them through the maze. So let Ninja have his accursed monkey and let Melissa shove Kwan into the path of a stampede of cattle. It won’t matter soon because HE is coming. The King of Fists descends upon Iganp and this game is about ot get very VERY UGLY!