Friday, December 19, 2014

That One Time A Cheating Player Got His Comeuppance Via A Cyclops

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Now then, where was I? Oh yes!

We all know those players. The people who make convenient math errors a little too often, who ignore the negatives their characters are suffering one too many times for it to be chance, and who snatch their natural 20's up off the table before the DM can get a really clear look at what was on the die. We're pretty sure they're cheating, but we're not sure if we're ready to stick our necks out and accuse them in front of the whole table like the world's geekiest courtroom drama.

Their own actions will eventually deliver the karmic crotch-kick we so desire. Or at least that's how it happened to a guy named Rob.

Short-sighted doesn't begin to cover it.
Those of you who've read the other entries in Table Talk will recognize Rob as the fellow who ran the Star Wars game that resulted in my getting an out-of-game job offer from a Sith Lord. Well he was a invited along with myself and several others by a DM named John who was going to put together a grueling game that would challenge our abilities, our courage, and our luck.

Needless to say, we were in.

The Most Pointless Cheat In The World


There were roughly 6 players in this group, which is heading toward the big side of a party. There was a paladin, a sorcerer, a rogue, a cleric, a fighter, and a monk. Because John is a foolish but interesting DM he told us to roll 4d6 and drop the lowest, and to re-roll 1s and 2s for our stats. He also had a caveat that said if you rolled all 6's then you got to keep the 24 for your stat.

Take a wild guess who got the 24.
Instead of rolling his dice carefully where the DM could see it, Rob's rolled a mysterious 24 when the rest of the table was engaged in a discussion over other rules. Because none of us had seen him alter the dice post-roll, though Rob's defensive facial expression and body posture said that was likely what had happened, John told him to take the 24. It was just easier than dealing with the argument that would ensue.

Here's where things get dumb. The paladin, sorcerer, rogue, and cleric all had understandably high charisma scores. After all, each of them has skills or class features that depend on that stat. My fighter, a black knight who'd cut ties with his noble family in Cheliax, also had a charisma of 16. Morvius Henderthrane was going to be recruited by the Eagle Knights, and I needed a high charisma for his prestige class. Upon comparison it's remarked that we are, "a very pretty party," with a 15 sitting as the lowest charisma score among these five characters.

Rob hears this and immediately decides to switch the 24 from his strength to his charisma. Why does a half-orc monk need a 24 charisma? Your guess is as good as mine dear reader, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was because he wanted to "win" what was never a competition in the first place as to who had the most striking presence.

The Comeuppance


The game starts with all of us at level five adventuring together. We're put ashore on the south side of an island and told that there is a hag leading an army of nightmare creatures in a cave up the coast. If we want to end the threat we need to take her unawares. We smash our way through a fight with some giant crabs, and start climbing the cliffs. Showing both strategy and variety, John throws some harpies at us. Once the harpies have distracted us, a cyclops crashes in from the woods, large-sized greatax raised and ready to swing.

Everybody chill. I got this.
Arrows and daggers are flying, and the party is getting slammed by the assailants. Morvius is even pushed off a small cliff. Non-plussed and seething he storms back up the rise, and splits the last remaining harpy from crotch to crown with a critical from his bastard sword. At almost the same time the sorcerer, the only other Chelaxian in the party, casts blindness on the cyclops. The DM rolls low, and the giant's single eye withers and drops out of its socket, leaving the potent foe significantly reduced.

Morvius being lawful and a knight calls for the cyclops's surrender. The giant agrees. It is at this time that the monk, who has done nothing useful to contribute to the fight up to this point, rushes up to the cyclops with the intention of striking a death blow on the helpless, surrendered creature. The cyclops hears the monk coming, and uses an ability that those who hadn't read the Pathfinder Bestiary in-depth to see how it was different from the Monster Manual didn't know about; the ability for a cyclops to declare any die roll a natural 20 due to a brief glimpse into the future once per day.

The result? The creature brings down its ax, and the DM rolls to confirm the critical. He confirms with a natural 20, and rolls enough damage to smash the orc down to -20 hit points.

He Chose Poorly


The entire table was silent for about five seconds. The silence filled up with the sounds of barely-suppressed laughter as the DM showed Rob the description of the ability, and Rob spluttered to try and find some way to save his dishonorable and mostly-useless monk. There is no way to save him, and so we're reduced down to a mostly-functional party size.

If only he'd put that 24 in Constitution...
Despite the player pouting and huffing about his well-deserved and totally-legal character death, the rest of the table used it to further the plot. Morvius and the sorcerer threatened the giant badly enough that it nearly killed itself running for its life down the mountain, and Morvius demanded that they stop and bury their fallen comrade. Only once the dirt had been thrown on it did he insist they continue, and give the half-orc an escort on his way to Pharasma's judgment.

He had plenty of company... enough so that we gained 2 levels in a single fight. But that's another story for another day...

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