Thursday, December 30, 2010

Now that's a complement.

Over at his blog ChicagoWiz relates one of the best comments about his game he ever got. I must say I can relate and of course am going to share this little poorly formed tale with you gentle readers.

A few years ago I DM'd a long Sunday game for my son and a few friend's sons and a few neighbor kids of one of the friends sons, the boys were 10-11 mostly with one 13 years of age (as I recall it).
I had a little time to prep the adventure knowing it was going to include a number of inexperienced players so I had a few easy puzzles, some monsters that were easy to beat and a couple of think quick and run away encounters and a couple exploitable tactical positions that were screaming out...use me and a couple of spots that were likely to require team work. I decided to use a number of skeletons, they are turnable at 1st level and easy to beat in a fight.

An hour or so in to the dungeon the band of youthful explorers came upon some cobweb choked chambers. The youngsters figured they'd be safe because there'd be less wandering monsters (they already had a couple of quick but hairy encounters with wandering monsters at that point). after pressing on with their torches burning away sizzling bits of webbing they quickly realized they were in tombs with large sarcophagi, a wonderful opportunity to loot they hoped. They worked together to open the first sarcophagus and claimed a little cheap jewelry on one skeletal corpse. They opened another sarcophagus slidding off the lid. The PC of the oldest child was closest and asked what treasure he could see within and I told him about the expensive looking gold jewelery on the skeleton within, he reached in for it... blew his surprise check ... the skeleton made it's hit roll and I described it sort of like this "The dusty filth coating the bones of the skeleton shifts and drops away as it rears up and grasps you about the head and shoulders to draw you closer to it's snarled teeth, the linger dry threads of the funeral shroud brush your face as it's breathless mouth clamps tight on your face biting you." the kids freaked, destoyed the skeleton, went on to destory more skeletons and fight a low level evil cleric and most of the PCs escaped with their lives and some loot.

A couple of years later one of the fathers of the kids wanted to do an all night game with a number of the same kids and fathers and was looking for a co-DM.
I offered and he accepted but said "just don't give anyone nightmares this time"
I laughed it off and he went on to explained I'd actually inspired bed wetting nightmares in the older of the kids that gave him trouble for a couple of months. One of the best comments on my DMing I ever got. Seemingly among that group of kids that session of D&D has become the stuff of legends and set an example.


  1. It's a tribute, that's for sure, and in a certain sense to the kids too, for getting so deeply involved. Let's hope the suspension of disbelief stays strong as the years pass, though maybe without the side effects.

  2. @porky, I felt like apologizing to the kid when I found out how much I'd spooked him but I didn't recall Vincent Price or George Romero ever popping over to tell me they were sorry they gave me nightmares. If imagined horrible things are the worse that ever happen to someone they are darned lucky and I'm glad to help set the bar for "this is spooky".