Friday, October 24, 2008

Do Not Scare Happy Naked Cleric

In this post I made a note to tell the story of happy naked cleric. I have nothing else to say today, so I'll trot this story out. Maybe a nugget of wisdom will reveal itself. It will also give me a place to mention that this week's Weekly What the Heck ends in 12 hours, so head on over and contribute a quirk to the Cycloptic Elephantaur.

A few years ago, Jen and I decided to run a one-shot mid-level 3e adventure for our gaming group. The group's 3e campaigns to date had all topped out below level 9, so the 9th level characters we handed out were pretty novel at our table. We came up with a dungeon crawl based on the old school module A4 plot - you wake up naked prisoners in a cave and have to get out.

We also set up the whole thing to be played for some laughs. It included a tour group of drow being led through the caverns by a bored tour guide (inspired by a recent trip to Meramac Caverns) and a gray dwarf princess surrounded by eager suitors carrying potions of love and potions of enlarge. Our pregen characters included a halfling ranger specialized in daggers.

Since the PCs were starting off with no equipment and barely a way out of their cages, I made sure the first encounter was easy: some gray dwarf fighters ranging in level from 2 to the mighty 4 (see 9th level characters, above). I also was nice enough to have one of them carry a number of throwing daggers so the halfling could become useful quickly.

Except that, upon entering the cavern and seeing a half dozen armed duergar heading toward him, the cleric won initiative and opened with his highest-level spell, flame strike. All the 2nd-4th level dwarves failed their saves. More important, almost every piece of their equipment failed its save.

I stood, stunned, thinking about the next few encounters with unintelligent monsters with no treasure/gear. The halfling's player shrieked something about the loss of the gear. The cleric's player looked over the results of his handiwork, shrugged, and uttered the evening's most memorable line. "Hey, do not scare happy naked cleric."

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