Author Topic: Sheesh... I will get this one started...  (Read 5576 times)

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Offline Phendar

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Sheesh... I will get this one started...
« on: September 07, 2005, 06:02:09 AM »
I will give you the pieces, you put them together...
Think of it as a mini-CSI segment :)

1) Dave does NOT like it when a dragon dies.
2) 33000 cuft is a LOT of area, especially for a small cave... (think of it like a gnomish jet engine).
3) Casting chain-lightning while your party is standing in a dragons horde of gold after is has been raining for a few days is NOT a good idea.
"The pen is only mightier than the sword, until I cut off your arm."
-Phendar

avisarr

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Re: Sheesh... I will get this one started...
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2005, 01:01:25 PM »
First of all, thanks for kicking this particular section of the Khoras Forum off with a bang.

Phendar is referencing three separate gaming incidents from the good old days. So let me explain what he's talking about:

First of all, yes, I admit it... I don't like it when a dragon dies. But Phendar is just poking fun at me for something that happened a long time ago. And there's a long story that explains it. Here we go...

Once upon a time, back in the OLD days of second edition, I was living in Ohio and DMing a group. We ran several campaigns during the mid to late 1980's. Yep, this was old school. Some of this was even played out in FIRST edition D&D. It was old fashioned gaming at its best. A group of high school buddies getting together once a week to roll the dice, do the dungeon crawl, slay the monster, divide the treasure and celebrate with ale back in the village tavern.

And just so you know, this stuff predates Khoras by quite a bit. These adventures all took place in the world of Greyhawke.

Now the incident with the dragon... during one of their adventures, the group of stalwart adventurers came upon a tower. They explored the tower and I think they killed a few goblins that were camping out there. Anyway, it was a small tower and on the top level they found a glyph and a gateway. The gateway was an enchanted teleport arch. You see, this tower was part of a teleport network. (This was actually an adventure module which came out of DRAGON magazine, as I recall). It was several towers all connected to each other by these teleport gates in the top level. The towers themselves were separated by hundreds of miles. If you went to the top of one tower and then walked through the teleport gate, you would instantly be transported to the top of one of the connecting towers. Actually, as I recall now, the top level of each tower had SEVERAL teleport gates that led to different towers in a complex network.

So, anyway, the players start bouncing around from tower to tower. Each time they teleport to a new tower, they are on the top floor and they go out on to the balcony to take a look at the land below them and see where they have teleported to. They spent a few hours teleporting to several towers and, usually, battling and slaying whatever monsters were in or around the tower.

After a couple of hours of this, they came to one tower in particular. They stepped out of the gateway and then walked out onto the balcony. They looked down and what did they see? A dragon. A full sized adult green dragon which was curled around the tower at the base, sleeping.

Now, let's pause here for a moment and make note of a few important details. This was the mid 1980's or so. Probably 86, if I remember correctly. We were playing FIRST EDITION Dungeons and Dragons. That's important. For those of you who have never played 1st edition before, let me say that it had, uh, some problems. Back in those days, there were no prestige classes. There were no feats. There were no spelljammers or wild mages or any of that. Player characters did not often get to high level. In fact, the tables didn't even go to level 20. Reaching 9th level was considered a big deal. The character classes were much less powerful.

Likewise, the monsters were less powerful. Dragons, in particular, were weaker than they should have been. Dragons, back then, had eight age categories and they had ONE d8 hit points per age category. That is, an adult dragon, age category four, which had max hit points had exactly 32 hit points. That's right. 32 hit points. I'm not making this up. This is right out of the adventure module we were using. This dragon had 32 hit points. Should I say it one more time? 32 FUCKING HIT POINTS. For the WHOLE dragon.

It amazes me that dragons were so weak back then. That's about how many hit points a good fighter will have. Or a big, heavy warhorse. Nowadays, you're average 6th level thief will have more hit points than that.

Second, back in first edition, dragons slept alot. I guess they wanted to give adventurers a shot. But you could often find dragons asleep in their lair. And you could SUBDUE dragons by using subdual damage and all that crap. Suffice to say, dragons were an anemic, pathetic bunch.

The players saw an opportunity here. They prepared to drop everything they had on the dragon. One mage readied a fireball. Phendar's thief had these little alchemical balls that exploded on impact like grenades. The fighter had a bow, one person had a vial of acid, etc. Just about everyone in the party had something to either cast, shoot or drop on the dragon. Now Phendar, might correct me on some of this, but that's generally how it went.

The dragon was totally surprised and caught unaware, because he was, after all, snoozing. The players dropped their various implements of destruction on the dragon and the dragon was OBLITERATED. I think they did something like 80 points of damage in one round, catapulting the poor little scaled guy into smoky oblivion. That little rascal never stood a chance.

Now this was when I was young. I was like 16 and still just learning how to DM. Actually, we were all young players without a lot of experience. So, we argued back and forth across the table as D&D players often do. One player suggested a "do over". Everyone agreed. So, we replayed the events. I can't remember what I changed, but this time the dragon managed to wake up at least and let loose a blast of his breath weapon, but the players still managed to drop a payload of death over the balcony and nuke the dragon by combat round 2.

As I recall, we may have done one additional "do over". We were all having fun and laughing and it ended up sort of being an experiment. Could the dragon survive this setup? Was the situation setup such that the dragon had no hope of escape? Well, based on the setup and my inexperience at that time as a DM, we discovered that yes, the dragon was doomed. I think we played out that encounter a total of 3 times and each time the dragon was defeated within two combat rounds.

Phendar may reply to this and say "no, Dave, we replayed that thing like 6 or 7 times". Don't listen to him. He exaggerates. :)  The truth is we played it 3 times at the most.

This whole encounter was actually a good thing because this incident early in my career as Dungeon Master helped to shape many of my current day beliefs in gaming. The first thing that I learned is that everything that is written by professional game designers, TSR, WotC, etc. is fallible. It can be wrong. Just because TSR or Wizards of the Coast publishes a book or magazine or whatever does NOT mean that everything in it is right. They can make mistakes. They can be flawed. I have since found that much of what the "professionals" publish is greatly flawed and can be improved immensely.

Obviously, first edition dragons were too weak. If you compare a dragon to a human fighter, they should not have the same number of hit points. Dragons should be vastly more powerful than any man, orc or elf.

The second thing that I learned that day is that no matter what the adventure module says, you don't have to follow it. The DM is the absolute authority over every thing in his universe. The adventure module is just a guideline. It can be changed easily. If a DM thinks that something in the adventure is too easy/too hard/won't work, he can and should change it. It's his right to do so.

The green dragon asleep at the base of the tower died that day. However, his death had consequences. From that day forth, I started thinking for myself and encouraging other DMs to question the books, the rules, the adventures and change things so they make sense. I've been doing it ever since.

And more specifically, I "adjusted" the strength of dragons. Just take a look at dragons in Khoras. Khoras dragons are INCREDIBLY tough. They are veritable flying engines of destruction. Read the description... Khoras dragons are not to be screwed with. Even for high level heros... dragons are serious and dangerous opponents. In the early days of gaming, slaying them was too easy and in many worlds, dragons are too common.

Dragons should, instead, be terribly powerful creatures that inspire terror and respect. They should be rare and wonderful creatures. Fear and respect and legend should be heaped upon their name.

And that's what I've tried to do with Khorasian dragons. And it's all thanks to one little first edition green dragon with 32 hit points that was killed by four ordinary mid level adventurers.


Ok, now let's look at the other two pieces.

The 33,000 cubic foot jet engine reference... 33,000 cubic feet is the volume of a fireball spell and that's what Phendar is talking about. Yes, it's big. And detonating it in a small cave causes a pressure increase, to say the least. I don't recall any specific events, but I vaguely remember once or twice the party detonating a fireball in a small area and blowing themselves to pieces.


As for the third event Phendar references, I don't remember the exact setup, but I don't think it was the same adventure as the one listed above with the teleport gate towers. I recall only the most vague of details... give me a break, this was TWENTY years ago.  ;)  As I recall, the party was on top of a tower, on a flat roof essentially open to the sky, but there was a short wall around them. They were being attacked by a dragon and they had a Wand of Wonder. For some reason, the players were knee deep in treasure at the top of the tower. Possbily summoned by the wand. And it was raining. The rain was also summoned by the wand. And the top of the tower with the treasure filled with water, turning it into a water/treasure soup which they were standing in - knee deep. And it froze at one point. And the dragon was flying, flapping and hovering directly overhead. And then someone shot a lightning bolt up at the dragon which killed the dragon but also bounced back and hit the caster and it channeled through the frozen treasure/water mixture and fried most of the party. The dragon fell down on top of the tower and the top of the tower basically exploded from the impact. People and treasure and rubble and dead dragon carcass came raining down to the ground. I just remember vague glimpses of it. Wish I could recall the whole thing. Perhaps Phendar will reply and fill in the missing details if he remembers.

Ok, I've rambled on long enough. But that's what he was talking about. Hope I explained everything well and everyone is able to enjoy this tale of old adventure games.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2005, 01:40:40 PM by David Roomes »

Offline sid6.7

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Re: Sheesh... I will get this one started...
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2005, 12:44:02 AM »
hahahhaha thats very funny...good story...

mines shorter "as im old and senile" and cant remember "diddly"

it was our first RPG game ever...

it was 1982, me and my buddy, his brother and 2 friends were
playing D&D...i was a warrior hack and slash...my buddy was the GM
and he was leading us in circles in this dungeon and i got impatient
"never get impatient" bad things happen...

so in a roar i stated kicking doors down and beating the crap
out of what ever we came accross and everyone was laughing
including the GM "big clue there"....

i started to get a tad ahead of the group...and finally came
to a door that was open partially..so i kicked it in....

and there he was a BIG dragon....

i turned and yelled RUN!!!....BIG dragon!!!
someone yelled "teleport man teleport!!!" so our 1
player did a panic toss and put everyone into
the wall of the dungeon like 2 feet in.....

EXCEPT for me....LOL

i turned slowly to the dragon and said HI!
by buddy(GM) looked at me and said....bye....

boom...ripped to holy shreds....end of game...

come see Kramxel at  http://cruzan.info/kramxel