A friend, new to our gaming group and relatively new to RPGs altogether, owing up to an unfortunate derth of DMs this past weekend, decided he would run a 3.5 one-shot adventure for whomever showed up. That ended up being myself and Paddy McRuleslawyer. So, new friend, we'll call him Tokyo Joe, had his DM début to a small but extremely experienced group.
Paddy and I began by crafting brother Goliath Barbarians, myself wielding their signature Greathammer while Paddy chose Tokyo's favourite weapon; the Fullblade. Both were large, of course. After re-familiarising ourselves with 3.5's skillsets (gods, I do so love Pathfinder), Paddy and I chose complementary skills and began the adventure.
Tokyo informed us that we called a lonely mountain on a lonely, secluded island, home. Our abode was also populated by various primordial creatures and the forests were described as something straight out of Jurassic Park.
Despite our impressive starting stats combined with the complete isolation from other races, Paddy and I were apparently the bottom of the food chain in our tribe. When pressed for why, Tokyo told us he had rolled for it. Ah, dice fiat beating out logic; a mistake I was once very guilty of (one day I'll tell that story, but not today).
So, in an effort to determine which of us was the less shitty one, our Brothers Stone were sent out into the forest to see who could bring back the biggest haul. Despite my urgings, rookie DM chose to have us make Knowledge: Nature checks instead of Survival checks. Neither Paddy nor myself had chosen said skill, leading us to return home empty handed. I quickly surmised that our characters were the worst hunters in our tribe because the laws of hunting applied differently in Tokyo's world than in any other I had ever played in. *sigh*
The next day, we set out again in search of our trophies. Another failed Nature check led to
We followed Paddy's perspective for awhile, leading him to the beach where our characters were revealed to have no knowledge of technology, despite having crafted our own weapons and armour out of steel. Paddy saw a "big tree" floating on the water with several "little trees" running back and forth between it and the beach.
Switch back to my POV and, after several hours of failed Geography checks, I decided 'Fuck it' and headed back home. Along the way I encountered six "tiny men made of metal". After I finished explaining to the rookie that my character was indeed familiar with metal armour and that I did not in fact believe the little buggers were skinned in metal, I tried to talk to them. It was then that we realised that, because our characters had grown up on Survivor Island, we only spoke Gol-Kah, the tongue of the Goliaths. Reaching somewhat of a language barrier, the "tiny metal men" attacked me with a crossbow, another 'stunning' innovation of science that my weapons crafting character was unfamiliar with.
My character did something smart for once and linked the lack of fauna to the guys in armour. Seeing that I was outnumbered 6 to 1, I used my superior speed to high-tail it back to our village to let them know what was up.
Switching to Paddy's character, he studied the goings-on of the invaders for quite some time before surprising a roving band of "tiny metal men" with his fullblade. One confirmed crit later and the little bugger had a 41 point damage crease in his shiny metal "skin". Sadly, that was not enough to topple the tiny bastard and, even though he scored 3rd on the initiative track, Paddy did not get to use his first round attack. He was too busy dying.
Switch back to me. I reach the village, hours later and having avoided several pit traps that our minuscule adversaries had dug into our mountain, winded and breathless. I head straight to the elders and inform them "tiny metal men" had attacked the island. They laughed. I try to explain that, as my stats verify, I'm a capable hunter. They all laugh again. It is at this point that I resign myself to switching my alignment from Chaotic Good to Spiteful Evil and head back to the place where I found my previous attackers in an attempt to sell my own people in slavery.
I make it back to where my brother had veered from our path hours earlier (at last, a Survival check!) and follow his trail down to the beach. There, I was greeted by the same sight he was, only at night and far more in detail. There were "tiny metal men" everywhere. There were also several of the island's other inhabitants held in wooden cages. I smiled.
So, I climbed a tree and hid myself in its branches, observing the goings on down below and waited for one to separate himself from the rest of the group. I climbed down and politely allowed the little guy to shit in peace before confronting him. I approached, arms up in the air non-threateningly, and tried to talk with him. Our language barrier had not diminished since my prior encounter with these invaders.
Still, this little fellow led me down onto the beach. There, he ran off and brought up what I could only assume to be the leader of their invasion force. After trying again to speak with the little fellow, I came to the realisation that there was sand on a beach. I had the worlds biggest etch-a-sketch at my feet.
I began by drawing a rudimentary stick figure with a huge hammer on his back. I pointed to it and then pointed to myself. I repeated this process until the dwarf touched his right finger to his nose. Taking this to be his people's non-verbal gesture of understanding, I continued. I drew some trees. I pointed to them, pointed to the drawing. The hairy midget touched his nose once more. I then drew a mountain. I pointed to the mountain in the distance and back to my drawing. Another nose touch. I then drew a village with other stick figures in it. I pointed to myself, then to the people. A nose touch. I pointed to the drawing, then to the mountain. The dwarf smiled and touched his nose. Then, I drew a cage around the village.
With a smile as large as he was small, the dwarf touched his nose at my Benedict drawing. I then drew a representation of the dwarf beside the one of myself. I pointed to it and then pointed to the bearded gentleman before me. He touched his nose. I proceeded to draw an arrow to the village drawing and followed that by drawing myself and the dwarf again, but this time we were attacking the villagers. He shook his head and did not touch his nose. My heart fell.
I was distraught as to what to do. The spite-portion of my black heart was crushed that I would not join our attackers in decimating the assholes who kept me down and mocked my (now obviously) correct assessment of the situation. Then, I settled for escape. I locked eyes with my partner in discourse and pointed to myself, then to the
Realising that the undergrown boar wanted to capture me, I shook my head vigorously. I then repeated my previous gesture of pointing to myself then the
After an eternity of uneasy glances between myself and the Lollipop Guild, my translator returned and led me to a "small floating tree" headed towards the larger one. Once aboard, I was taken to an area of the ship which had obviously been very hastily renovated for a gentleman of my stature. He left me and I slept.
Upon awakening, I strapped my hammer to my back once more and joined the crew on the beach. After hours of lifting cages to and fro, I finally joined a gang that was taking the captured creatures belowdeck. As I entered the hold, I was confronted with the site of my brother, Paddy's character, in a cage, devoid of equipment and clothing. Our exchange went something like this.
"What the hell?" I asked, curiously.
"You what the hell!"
"What are you doing down here?" I indicated the hold with all of the non-sentient creatures around us.
"They," Paddy said, indicating the dwarves now shifting nervously around me, "attacked me and knocked me out. I haven't eaten for a day and I've been sleeping in my own shit!"
"Huh. They gave me a room." I savoured his icy glare before sighing. "I'll see what I can do."