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One ring to divide them all. by Avatar

Player's Perspective #9 (World's Largest Dungeon) - 20 December 2009

Today, we had probably the most significant game in our campaign.

In an effort to save Frairon, the warlock who had been turned to stone, we had to devise an effective plan to get past the formians and their golem who had kept him closely guarded. Having found out last game that fighting them would be largely inconsequential, it seemed fairly simple that even diving into a standard battle would be a fair (albeit rough) solution.

At least that's how my character, Reece, saw it.

But when Artew, the cleric, suggested that summoning a powerful angel to just go in and get him would do the trick, I don't think anyone could have guessed that it would turn out to be the beginning of the end.

The angel demanded Reece's prized item in exchange for the saving of Frairon, his most treasured ring of invisibility. Maybe the party didn't see it the same way, but Reece made it abundantly clear that while he was willing to reluctantly lend out the ring to accomplish a specific task, losing it forever was out of the question.

Now, I should digress for a moment here and point out that Reece has had a lot of bad luck in this campaign. I could make a list.

So, after the angel named his price, Reece didn't even understand at first - did the angel really expect him to give up his prized token for our friend's life? Sure, maybe. The angel obviously had no idea nor care for Reece's sentimental values. After Artew, who had summoned the angel, had clarified for Reece exactly what the angel was asking, Reece made it clear that the ring was not an option for payment... and perhaps less clear that this plan was unlikely to work at all if that was to be the cost of executing it.

That's when Runesdre, the sorcerer, stepped in to say, well, this is about our friend and his life is at stake, therefore it's worth discarding the ring for it.

Alec, the wizard, agreed with Runesdre that it was either the loss of the ring, or the loss of Frairon. This was especially strange, because before Artew had made the suggestion to summon the angel, Alec was the one who had come up with an entirely different way of saving Frairon. Now it seemed that sacrificing his teammate's incredibly valuable and useful tool was the only solution. Even Garmoth, our fighter who has had his small share of taking leadership in the party, seemed to agree that this plan was completely acceptable. Of course, Reece still refused.

Then Runesdre actually threatened to forcibly take it from Reece. Frairon's life is on the line, he continued to reason. Artew actually apologised to his own summoned angel for "the halfling's greed" and for wasting his time, and told Reece that getting rid of the ring would be a good idea for everyone's sake. Runesdre told Garmoth to grapple Reece, which he moved to get into position to begin to do.

Was this actually happening? In one hit, all of a sudden the entire party seemed to be enchanted. What had just begun as one alternative plan to save Frairon, had suddenly turned into the party being willing to take apart one party member to save another.

It was absolutely surreal. Did everyone suddenly drop out of character at the same time? No. This was really happening, without any enchantments, and it wasn't going to be pretty.

When Runesdre attempted (and, thank god, failed on) his charm monster spell, there was no turning back. We rolled for initiative.

In what was one of the most intense combat scenes we've played out thus far, it was a question of who was going to push who too far first, turn by turn. Runesdre ruled out fleeing by blocking the only exit with a wall of force. Alec readied a ray of enfeeblement, which would incapacitate Reece if he dared fight back or attempted some other way of fleeing. Garmoth probably could've grappled Reece in an instant with his massive strength versus Reece's complete lack of strength, but opted to warn him that there will be consequences. When it was Reece's turn, the options were incredibly limited. For now, he resorted to fire back at Garmoth's intimidation with reasoning.

The combat sequence continued like a chess game, seeing who would make the most game-breaking move first. Runesdre grappled Reece and eventually pinned him with telekinesis, where Reece's reputation with poor rolls of the dice gave a great showing here. It got to the point it was becoming apparent that if they really wanted to just take the ring away forcibly, Reece would not be able to stop them.

But were they willing to? Alec and Garmoth had bowed out, probably starting to realise where this was going. Reece could only desperately appeal to their morality and the reality of the situation which they seemed to have lost. Eventually, the party caved and saw the light - there were, in fact, other ways to do this.

Garmoth may not have realised it when he said it, but this incident is another significant notch in Reece's career of Bad Things Happening in his life that will indeed still have consequences later on.

All of his companions had turned on him. How would you feel?

Reece was still exasperated to pieces now that that nightmare was over, but with the high cost of summoning the angel, Artew suggested they find other ways to make the spell useful. So useful in fact, that the most significant questions of the campaign have started getting answers.

The first bit of information was the very nature of the dungeon. The fact that it does indeed have an exit, and that it is guarded by a very powerful titan. Something that will, no doubt, cause more lucky getaways later in the game. Of the two regions they've seen so far, it seems likely that each region of the dungeon has some sort of theme. If they can find one region relating to titans, they may be close.

The second answer was specific to the region they're in - Chtrax the xill leader's plan.

Actually, we haven't gotten that far yet. It was going to cost another item to get that kind of information, and - perhaps, mercifully - the price is yet to be determined. And so the game ended for this week.

Perhaps appropriately with Reece's newfound learning curve rising, so too did the level of his character - back to level 15, back to where he was at the very beginning of the campaign.

The PHB says that halflings are notoriously curious. Prefer trouble to boredom. Rely on their ability to survive or escape danger.

While Reece is a pretty resilient halfling that demonstrates all of these traits in a very uncannily stereotypical fashion, it's only going to be a matter of time before all the trouble he so consistently faces causes him, naturally, to crack.

In finding out the first most significant clues of the campaign, it's a question of whether his horrendous luck will soon change drastically, or whether he'll make it out of this celestial-forsaken place - before the dungeon drives him completely out of his mind.