It is an absolute truth that good players can come up with the most amazing and hilarious ways to solve the problems that they encounter in the game. It is equally true that few Game Masters are able to let go of their ego long enough to let these ideas blossom into the kind of outrageously funny memories that Dungeons & Dragons was designed to foster. We as a gaming community too frequently get caught up in the allure of loot, the minutiae of statistics, and the mundane bookkeeping of rolling great attacks and seeking better armor to focus on what the game is really about: interactive story-telling and fellowship. Spend time on the hanging out and chatting. Enjoy the pizza that the halfling brought. Pester the elf to buy Mountain Dew for the next game because the GM shouldn’t have to bring their own every time. Laugh at stories of your children. Talk about the next movie you want to see. Discuss the great goings on at your neighbor’s house, you know, the guy that was arrested for doing yardwork without any pants on.
Most vitally, though, do not be content with only one or two possible answers to a predicament. Last Sunday I had a small but dedicated group of insane people that had determined themselves to find and destroy an unknown monster deep in an abandoned gold mine. For you veteran players that sentence should have raised all manner of red flags. Oh the players found the monster, all right. It turned out to be a pyrohydra and since none of them had any real idea how to kill the cursed thing the encounter almost instantly ran right off of the rails. Cutting off heads and delivering massive damage didn’t seem to be working and after every round the pyrohydra simply grew replacement heads and kept fighting the players.
So my players did what they do best; contemplated the options. One of the players remembered that an NPC with the group had a goodly amount of gunpowder on hand because they used a caliver from time to time. The decision was made to try a three-pronged attack: sever a head, stuff the bag of gunpowder charges down the neck hole, and cram a burning torch into it. A brilliantly stupid idea. Of course I encouraged them to do it. I quickly had to calculate what difficulties to assign the attempts (severing the head was easy, all a player has to do is cause at least eight points of damage and a head is lopped off), and as it turned out it was a moot point because the bag stuffing was done by the paladin who rolled a natural 20 on an attack roll and the ranger also rolled high when he jammed the torch down on top of the charges.
All of this success resulted in the biggest, messiest explosion this group ever encountered. So many splattered internal organs. So much blood. Dear God what a stench. A fantastic adventure and memorable to boot. It was utterly ridiculous. And they did it.
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