D&D: A Reckoning Arrives
I started playing D&D about a year ago. For those unaware, Dungeons and Dragons is a popular role-playing game in which players embark on medieval fantasy adventures. More information can be found here.
This is not to be confused with S&M, which is Sado-Masochism: a different kind of role-playing in which participants consensualy give and receive abuse for sexual gratification. I mention this because I learned after nearly a year of mentioning my hobby that my mother had been somewhat confused on this point. It's a bit of an awkward misunderstanding, but it firmly demonstrates her level of tolerance to anyone who might ever challenge her.
I play weekly with Julie and six other friends. When done correctly, it provides a great ongoing story. This will be the first of many occasional blog posts to share our most entertaining episodes.
Our core party consisted of Alden, a jeweler and hedge-wizard on a midlife crisis; Maraduay, a crusading Minotaur raised by humans; Corelis, a typical womanizing fawn; and Tanzit, an affable thief. They'd been joined by Grimdark and Cromm, two ageless, sexless creatures which had always been kept at arm's length. Cromm was without fault, besides perhaps an annoyingly cheery disposition. Grimmdark, however, was a shape-shifter and telepath with questionable loyalties. Grimm's company was barely tolerated for weeks for because Grimm was a powerful ally. More importantly, Grimm simply wouldn't go away and Cromm maintained the peace.
Grimmdark ended any chance of a continued partnership when they put a wounded Tanzit out of his misery while Alden was still trying to save his life. Before the others could even send Grimm away, however, Grimm placed a curse on one a new ally for personal gain. Corelis declared that exile was no longer an option: Grimm's death was necessary to lift the curse. This set in motion a complicated showdown. As the only one with the mental defenses to conceal the plan, Alden escorted Cromm and Grimmdark to the location where the others would meet them. There, at a secluded swamp bridge, Grimmdark would be put to death.
Everyone spent the day leading up to this confrontation planning their actions. Grimm was cagey as hell. Through much care, all arrived at the agreed upon time and place. There, Alden formally announced the judgment. He then strode confidently towards the condemned, his intentions masked. Whether Grimmdark fled or tried to strike a blow, Alden intended to throw a handful of disorienting powder at Grimmdark. This is how they would avoid a violent battle.
Grimdark, however, never fled nor attacked. They transformed into Alden's deceased wife. It was a very effective distraction. A fight began in earnest.
Next, Grimmdark began to shout. "Everyone, it's me, Alden!" they proclaimed. "Grimmdark has switched our bodies!"
"It's a lie!" shouted Alden. "Don't fall for any tricks, just kill it while we have the chance!"
Instead of speaking for Alden, I now passed notes to Julie who now spoke for both characters. None of the other players could tell which one was truly which. An argument proceeded in the midst of violent struggle. Corelis concluded that a mind swap really had occurred. Then, Alden suddenly transformed.
Alden knows about eight spells. One of them is a disguise spell, which his comrades didn't know about. Alden used it to disguise himself as his dead wife. Now, there were two hauntingly beautiful women in white sundresses, both of whom claimed that they were the victim and the other was the condemned. The others separated them and restrained them both. Grimmdark's gambit had elicited the desired effect: chaos. Now, Alden's life was in as much peril as Grimmdark's, and the outcome would depend not on force but on cunning.
Next week, we'll meet again to see whether justice is had or a murder substitutes an innocent man's life for their own.