Saturday, October 29, 2011
GMing For The Holidays
Just a few hours ago, my old friend and I got together for a Zalekios game. For those who didn't read my post on evil in games, Zalekios is my character in the only game I'm currently in which I don't GM. He's a chaotic evil psychopath with a penchant gratuitous violence. The game is just me and the GM, though other players have cycled in and out during the six years this campaign has gone on.
As of late, Zalekios has been seeking a kingdom to rule. Nothing too grandiose. The plan was to subdue a tribe of goblins beneath my level 12 gestalt heel, then march those goblins on an unsuspecting settlement which I could reshape in my own image. To his credit, my GM has made me work for every inch of this goal. I had the good luck to happen upon some fire breathing goblins, only to learn they would freeze to death in temperatures below 100°F (38°C). And when I found a wizard who could fix it, he needed me to get the blood of an adult white dragon before he could cast the spell. It's been nothing but work, work, work, and I don't even have a village yet!
Anyway, one of the first events in this session was the report from one of my goblin scouts that a village had been found. It met all of the qualifications I had insisted upon: it was on the outskirts of civilization, with a population of about 100 people. Small enough to rule, small enough not to be noticed, but large enough to satiate Zalekios' desire for power over others. At least for now.
I rode south for a day until I came upon the small village. My initial scouting revealed that the village was ripe for the picking. I wasn't able to spot any exploitable land formations which would provide me an advantage in my attack, but that's just as well. I wouldn't want anyone to use it against me once I'm in control of the thorp. With my scouting complete, I took a room at the inn for the evening. Zalekios was enjoying his sleep, when he was awakened by a knock at the door. Angered, and ready to stab whoever was standing there, he flung the door open. And before he could say anything, a chorus of little voices shouted;
"Trick or treat!"
Yes, my GM had thrown me in the middle of Halloween within his game world. It's not the first time he's done this, either. A few years ago, I hunted down and killed Santa Claus right around Christmas time. I don't actually recall why I did that, though I think it was one of the few times Zalekios actually did something which benefited people. The game world Santa Claus was an asshole for some reason.
Some might find this overly goofy, or even be angry at the break in the 'fourth wall.' People can take their gaming pretty seriously, and even those who don't often prefer things don't go completely off rails. But I, for one, have always enjoyed the sessions where a GM steps back and lets things be goofy for an adventure.
So what did Zalekios do? First, he scared the children off by exposing his mutilated features, and his fleshless skeleton hands. And for the rest of the evening he played along with the goofiness. Thanks to some magic items and a few Wish spells, he's a ghost when it comes to moving silently and hiding. Houses had their candy stolen while the family's backs were turned, children had bags snatched right out of their hands without noticing, and Zalekios ATE ALL THE CANDY!
Sure it was out of character. On a normal day, Zalekios would have been more likely to eat the children than to eat their candy. Seriously, he's done that before. But the game was a fun departure, with the operative word being fun. A GM should never be scared to completely break with convention and be silly once in a while. It pays off. One of Zalekios' most memorable fights was when he was chased by a dragon which had a breath weapon of bubbles. And despite being mostly a silly, out-of-character session, the evil (read: good) twin of Zalekios I fought today actually got me down to 9 hit points before I killed him.
I've never done it myself, but I think my friends can expect a Thanksgiving, or perhaps Christmas themed adventure in the near future.