• The random vat of unknown magical goo

    Strange things happen when I am unable to properly plan out my game. Don't get me wrong, I don't railroad my players. I simply prefer to have at least a general idea what I will be doing in an upcoming session. Usually, this involves me asking my players what their characters intend to do next after a session ends. Often this means I have a number of monsters set aside as a backup plan if they should go in a way I do not expect them to. A monster encounter is very time consuming, and can often take an entire session, which gives me time to work on what is behind the next door.

    A few sessions ago, the players progressed through their combat encounter faster than expected. They made it to a portal which I had expected to be the mark of the end of the session... However, there was 4 hours left in our game. I did not even have a map prepared for what lays beyond the portal.

    This called for some hastily prepared mapping, and ideas being pulled out of thin air. On the other side of the portal, the group had found an unusual fountain which had rejuvenating properties. They found that by drinking from the fountain, they would regain 1d4 healing surges. Furthermore, they found what we later called "The random vat of unknown magical goo". Both were there for a reason, but the party did absolutely horrible on their skill checks, and have no idea what they are for yet.

    The random vat of unknown magical goo was pretty much demanding experimentation. The Ranger eventually threw a rock in, and had a +1 rock fly back at him. He found this to be amusing. I had hoped he would then carelessly throw a weapon into the vat, but he wisely went for further testing instead and dipped the end of his 10 foot pole into the vat. This time, the submerged end took on properties similar to rubber, and it became limp and bouncy. The vat turned out to be excess arcane energy which had been concentrated into a psychical form. By now, the party had learned that if they throw something into the vat, random things will happen. They chose not to question what the vat was for (and had a horribly low result on their skill checks anyway), and we spent the next 4 hours throwing things into the vat. Here is a small list of some things that were thrown in, and the results:

    • A tanned wolf pelt which the ranger was using for a blanket ==> A Wolf Pup which has been named "Doggie".
    • The other wolf pelt he was using for bedding ==> A tiger skin pelt.
    • Waterskin ==> Water elemental
    • Everburning Torch ==> Gained the ability to cast Scorching Burst once per encounter as a close blast 3.
    • 1 GP ==> 1 SP
    • A days worth of Rations ==> A bottle of fine wine laced with a knockout poison, which they only discovered after the Invoker drank some.
    • The Rangers +2 Magic Longbow ==> A stick of Zebra Wood which reverts back to his bow when on the ground. (An item that turns into a stick when not on the ground is actually a trademark enchantment of a wizard they once worked for. Long story.)
    • Another ration ==> Summoned an Angel of Gruumsh

    And so on. Each time I would roll a d20 and consult a table I threw together. This would determine how helpful the effect would be verses how useless it would be. Silly stuff got mixed in with somewhat useful stuff. A lot of everything would revert to the way it was after an extended rest.

    The Angel was not too happy about being summoned, and this brought on a skill challenge. I had determined that success would mean it would fight with them for a short while, and failure would mean it would attack them instantly. In spite of the Ranger besting the Angel at a challenge of Arm Wrestling (seriously) to prove his strength, things were going bad they were most likely going to fail. My players found a third option: The Fighter gave him the wine as an offering, and scored a natural 20 on his bluff check (And, amazingly enough, the Angel got a natural 1 on his opposed insight check.) This would mean that the Angel would drink from the wine. By the end of the skill challenge, after the party lost, the Goodnight Tincture kicked in, and he fell unconscious. This gave one free coup de grace to the party, which hit fairly easily. The ranger happens to deal somewhere between a hell of a lot of damage, and a godly amount of damage (depending on his crit die) when he scores crits. To make things even more insane, he can make another attack with his off hand weapon when he crits with his main weapon (which, as a part of the original attack, is also a coup de grace and will also crit when he hits) . Long story short, he managed to pull off 104 damage to a creature that had 141 to begin with. This is normally enough to slay the target outright, but the rest of the party put their parts in as well. The rest of the group had readied actions so they could all attack at the same time (and because the Angel was already dead, there was no reason not to let them have their fun). The Fighter threw down a coup de grace worth 50 damage, and the Invoker did another 55. This was a total of 209 damage to a creature that only had 141 HP to begin with. This is 3 HP short of its negative bloodied value!

    So, what the hell happened? My players, famous for doing things that make me want to remove their eyelids with a sheet of sandpaper, managed to collectively achieve a crowning moment of awesome. They took an item that I threw at them for the sole purpose of screwing with them a little, and turned it against me. It was used successfully in a very clever way which turned a bad situation into a solid win for them.

    My entire world has been turned upside down..
    This article was originally published in blog: The random vat of unknown magical goo started by Teksura
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Klaive's Avatar
      Klaive -
      This sounds like a very entertaining game for the players at least, as a DM I would have been feeling probably the same as you Kuri ( I mean Teksura ).
    1. Lumina's Avatar
      Lumina -
      lol; Does sound like alot of fun.
    1. iantruesilver's Avatar
      iantruesilver -
      Unbelievable, Tek. Just plain unbelievable.
    1. Ryerbiar's Avatar
      Ryerbiar -
      Goes to show that sometimes it's better for things not to go as planned. Sounds like your players had loads of fun. Makes me wish I was there ^ ^
    1. inexorable's Avatar
      inexorable -
      This was definatley fun to read. I'll bet a lot of laughter was involved.
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