Makariâ€™s Museum of Madness: Petting Zoo or Pile of Goo?
Jim C. Gadrow
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Enter and welcome to my very first column! These were, originally, going to be for a friend-of-a-friend's website but they grew lazy. I use the word 'column' lightly as I'm not really ready to dedicate my time to this but I felt the term fit.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Unlike the other columns that I will be writing, I felt that this one deserved a little special attention. This column will not have a running theme as the others do; it is for random tidbits that I feel like creating or sharing. Some months it may include support information for other columns, a story from one of my gaming sessions, or anything else that seems like a good idea. Now, on with the show!
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In this article of Makariâ€™s Museum of Madness, we shall be sharing a little story from a campaign I began running and tips on how to avoid the same fate as the unfortunate character. The character in question was played by a novice gamer and thus these tips are probably better suited to someone of a comparable play level.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â There they were, the brave party of adventurers attempting to return to the home of Baladir, one of the partyâ€™s dwarven fighters. The other party members consisted of an elven druid, an elven wizard, a human rogue, a half-elven ranger, and an npc dwarven fighter. They had just won through many tough battles in the duergar encampment and were quickly closing upon the natural cavern that would lead them to the dwarven holdings.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Being unafraid, they entered the cavern and decided to check the occasional side cavern for anything useful. In one cavern, however, they managed to spot a large, nearly translucent cube of a gooey-looking substance. It reached out towards them and they fled in a panic, for they were still grievously injured from their previous battles. Hungry and sensing weakened prey, the gelatinous mass squirmed quickly after them.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The noise of the party bolting headlong into the cavern chased by the pile of slime was enough to alert the two bugbear sentries that were positioned further up in the cavern. They decided to investigate the disturbance and inadvertently caught the party between the bugbears and the cube. On the first round of combat, the NPC fighter was swallowed up and paralyzed. This did not bode well for the party as he was their heavy hitter. And so, Baladir took it upon himself to attempt to dive into the gelatinous mass and free his brother in arms, not knowing of the paralytic or acidic qualities of the slime.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â After all was said and done, with the party escaping a grisly death by the heroic fighting prowess of their sorceress, every character lay on the brink of death. This is how my group began keeping a tally of who has committed the most suicidal actions.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â As a special note, this session took place prior to the release of the 3.5 rules. Thus, there was not an obvious way to avoid this encounter. However, if you give some thought to the descriptions given to you by the DM, you can usually guess several things about your opponent that wouldnâ€™t be considered out of character information (provided your character is intelligent enough to figure out the basic concepts behind the appearance). In the above example, if you are squared off against a sentient mass of gelatinous material that is translucent and you witness no discernable anatomy, it likely is acidic. After all, it has to digest its food somehow. Other hints can come from such observations: if its body is made of a durable material, it likely has some form of damage resistance; if it has appendages that resemble tentacles, it likely can trip and grapple opponents with ease; if it has wings, it probably flies. These are all simple observations that can save your characterâ€™s life. So, pay attention to those descriptions! Until next time, have fun!