Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Encounter at the Altar

The White Knight and the Barbarian skulked through the Deep Woods. Already, this unlikely alliance had felled spiders and giants and had plundered both the legendary Pool and the foul Cairn. Now, they followed rumors that the Druid had uncovered the unholy Altar and within, the Mouldy Skeleton, both brimming with treasures too heavy for him to possibly carry.

"We'll carry those for you, Dad!" my eleven year-old (Barbarian) snarked, much to the delight of his eight year-old brother (White Knight).

"Yeah, you two go right ahead," I grumped.

I'll admit, I was a little annoyed. I am not a big fan of the Druid. Not because he isn't a good character. His ability to avoid troublesome encounters is handy, but I find his play style to be a little boring -- avoid all fights, loot a site if you're lucky, and read runes, counting on Remedy to remove any curses. Nonetheless, I was excited to stumble upon the Altar and start looting, until I found treasures I could not carry with my light move chits, and the darn Mouldy Skeleton (with its H armor) was just the insult to add to my Druid's herniated disc.

I moved on, into the nearby cliffs, but my boys were all too happy to waltz in and try to collect some free, awesome magic weapons. They searched and looted for a couple of days. The Knight was coming up unlucky, but the Barbarian (with his previously found Lucky Charm) had gleefully claimed the Jade Shield.

But... the Magic Realm has a way of punishing those who push their charmed luck too far and indeed, after the third day of violating his Altar, the Demon arrived to punish the interlopers.

"Who dares violate the sanctity of my Altar!?" the tremendous Demon thundered into the clearing, reeking of sulfur and charred flesh. Though the beast was terrifying, the Knight had faced its kind before and with the power of faith and steel, had emerged victorious.

"This is an auto-kill, right?" Dan had played the White Knight before, and had traded out his slow great sword for the faster morning star.

"If you're hidden, sure. However, if you are not hidden, then the Demon is bound to get the first shot with his spell attack." I reminded Dan, and he and his brother both nodded. The plan was set, hide, maybe get in a couple extra loots, then onto fame and notoriety.

Unfortunately, the dice were not with them and both of them blew their hide rolls, leaving them blocked and exposed in the clearing with the Demon.

They were only a couple of meters from the cover of the stones when the twig snapped, and that crack rang through the clearing as though it came from the felling of a hundred trees. The Demon turned toward the warriors and grinned through razor-sharp teeth. "I smelled you, human filth, now I can see you." The beast charged, the fight was upon them...

"Rogue Seven," bellowed the Barbarian, "this looks dangerous. You take the lead!"

The Barbarian lured the Demon with his rogue hireling. This made sense. The Demon would attack first with his spell, but certainly be killed before he could kill any of the characters with his claws, which means his main threat was the dreaded Power of the Pit. The rogue was immune to the most common effects of this spell, and with the Demon focused on the rogue, the White Knight can ready his morning star in anticipation of the killing blow. Given that they were caught unhidden, this was a great strategy for minimizing their potential losses ("We salute you, Rogue 7!") and winning the fight.

The Demon went first, hit the rogue and... rolled double ones. Fiery Chasm Opens, killing all unhidden characters, natives and monsters in the clearing. Everyone dies. The boys stared at the dice in disbelief. I stifled a chuckle (poorly).

Just another evening in the Magic Realm.