Being a Game Master can at times be a lot of work and when there is friction between players it can be something of a headache. But mostly it is a rollicking good time as intelligent, humorous people try and solve puzzles and problems that the Game Master tosses at them. Sometimes when people try to figure out a solution to a conundrum they end up making things worse. And they nearly always make it hilarious.
Allow me to give you an example from our current game. It might take me some time because even thinking about makes me laugh, so this is going to take a lot longer to compose than it will for you to read. So long ago the players had an interaction with a villain in the game known as The Viceroy. This did not go particularly well for the players, but none of them died. However they did get themselves cursed. The Viceroy used one of his diseased, talon-like fingernails to carve a Sikilian phrase into each of their right forearms. In doing so he seemed to be drawing some of their blood up into his skeletal self like a fountain pen drawing ink. The end result is a nasty scar that won’t heal (although it does vanish from time to time only to show up again at inopportune times). There is plenty to suggest that this branding scar somehow affords The Viceroy with some measure of control over these players. But to what extent isn’t known.
This is where things get downright hilarious. Different players have come and gone over the course of the game and lately three new players have joined the Troublemakers. These three are all experienced Dungeons & Dragons veterans so they know a few tricks themselves. All of them are eager to try their hand at ridding one of the original characters of their accursed arm scar. Suggestions range from just cutting off the arm (which has been suggested already and rejected as an option) to tracking down and killing The Viceroy to end the curse from the top down. But they aren’t all that sure that killing The Viceroy won’t kill the player’s character, and since he has only recently clawed his way to 11th level as a Ranger he isn’t too keen on losing any of his progress. The option has been floated to just kill the ranger and immediately resurrect him to see if that fixed the problem. Mind you, there isn’t a guarantee that would work in the slightest, but it is still very popular with everyone except the ranger. They have already tried a variety of spells to remove the scar and/or the curse but to no avail. Meanwhile they have good reason to believe that The Viceroy is aware of all of these attempts because it can see and hear everything the ranger can.
But this is the kicker. At every point along the way the ranger has had a chance to ask any number of diviners in the game about his curse. He never really has. Only recently did he think to approach a revered shaman about it and he was told that he didn’t need to worry about removing the scar and/or the curse. The players haven’t tackled the significance of this because honestly I think they delight in furthering their arguments that just killing the ranger might maybe work probably perhaps. Another powerful fortune teller type of character was suggested, by me no less, but that wasn’t done either. I have these terrific cryptic clues to give and no chance to use them. What I do have is a dozen different scenarios in which the ranger gets butchered by his comrades. Meanwhile there actually is a sorcerer that has figured out how to completely negate the ranger’s curse. It is 100% foolproof even considering how hysterically resilient these fools are. They just need to keep the ranger intact long enough for this to play out and frankly I’m not sure they can resist. They have a grand fight coming up in the game and I’m not sure that one or more of them won’t take advantage of it to remove his arm or slit his throat just to see if they were right about their theory.
This is why I am a Game Master. I couldn’t come up with a comedic situation this good on my own.