Sunday, August 14, 2011

Adventure Seminar, day two

Day 1: Non-Combat Adventure
Day 1 of the adventure building seminar was dedicated the non-combat adventures. Some kids understood this as “a ton of traps day” while for most it was a “the instructor went mad, ignore him” day. Fun without violence seems to be unimaginable these days. A sad statement on the affairs of the state. What a sibilant sentence!

Anyhow; one adventure was remarkable for its utterly outlandish premise;

You see this poor guy? Without violence he'll lose his job...

“An evil wizard has made violence impossible. You must defeat him and return violence to the world.”

The universal agreement that there was nothing wrong with this premise was quite astonishing to me. When I enquired whether violence is really such a great thing, everyone agreed that a world without violence would be a better world, but one does need violence because “it’s difficult to kill people without it; you have to poison them and such.”

This more or less summarized the adventure; arrange a series of nasty accidents for your enemies until you reach the sphere of peace and viciously shatter it against a stone wall. Then go on and slaughter orcs and goblins left and right. Afterward, be celebrated as heroes for bringing back the gift of violence to the world.

Had I been the DM, I would have ended this adventure with the sweet irony of the PCs being stabbed to death in a random attack in some nameless alley. But I wasn’t.

The next day, a kid came up with something even crazier...

Day 2: Non-Fantasy Adventure
At first the kids looked at me as if I told them to run without the help of their limbs. Then I explained that non-fantasy didn’t mean mundane, but rather not second world fantasy. Only one kid actually created an adventure free of any fantasy influences at this stage, but I’m afraid it wasn’t very good. The other two, while having strong fantasy elements, were really something though...

Mundane. Utterly mundane.

"You play drug elementals that travel to drug plane to kill the drug hydra to become the emperors of drugs."

Wow, what an insane trip! The kid actually researched various kinds of illegal substances and assigned each player special powers according to the substance they represented. I chose opium, so my powers were  insubstantiality and sleep. We passed through green field, acid pools, illusionary halls and eventually fought the Hydra, who spoke with a Spanish accent for some reason.

There was some plot twist out there, but quite frankly I got a bit too much into my character and don’t remember it. After the LSD halls, nothing could really surprise us. Talking walls, flying joints that burn your eyes, stoner golems - we saw it all.

“You’re a small elf and human outpost attacked by orcs and mindflayers from outer space.”

Possibly the grimmest adventure I've ever played.

We started as commanders of laser batteries, marine squads, fighter jets and so forth. No matter how many enemies we killed, more arrived. We saw our brave lads cut down and die in mud and blood or blown to bits in the trenches and could do nothing to save them. A daring swashbuckling attack blew up one of the enemy space carriers at the cost of two PC lives, but it changed nothing – there were two more carriers in orbit. Things went worse and worse and the last PC was shredded by lasers just before screaming into the radio, “where is the god damn reinforcement we asked for 30 minutes ago!

After the adventure, the DM announced happily that our sacrifice was not in vain – most of the planet was massacred but our families fled to space. I asked him what kept the enemy from intercepting them. He said “oh” and walked away with a mysterious smile.

What can I say – war is hell.

Next post - a taste of bitter, bitter realism. So bitter you might want to ingest something sweet first...

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