Friday, January 9, 2015

Making Your Own Fate (Or Why It's A Bad Idea For Chaotic Good Characters To Rear Black Dragons)

This week's Table Talk entry comes to us from the game of Benjamin Colecliffe. Some of you might have seen similar instances of trying to do the right thing that spiraled out of control into massive threats to the peace, life, and limb of the local community. If you have I'm sure you'll identify with this week's tale...

We Make Our Own Fate

Some heroes kill dragons. Many more die trying and failing to kill dragons. And then there’s this guy, who died trying to thwart the draconic menace that he’d created.

That escalated quickly.
Our hero for this story is Roran, a barbarian from the far south. We’re playing Hoard of the Dragon Queen and have just finished looting a cave complex with several dragon eggs inside, which we promptly stole. My character has headed north to report our success and hand over some documents we acquired, while Roran has created a cart to lug the dragon eggs back to Greenest. He gets there and decides to hide the eggs until we’re ready by burying them, at which point one of them hatches.
So Roran has a baby evil dragon on his hands, and he has an idea. He takes it off the road a way and begins trying to raise it. Firstly, it’s obviously hungry so he heads off into town to get some food for it. The town has been raided, its livestock rustled, and Roran had killed off all of the town’s hunters (long story), so there wasn’t any meat for sale. Opting for a second best choice, Roran gets a pack horse, leads it back to the dragon, and kills the horse for the dragon to eat. Now the baby dragon isn’t happy with this, as it wants live prey. So Roran goes back to town and buys some puppies. With big eyes that look up at him with nothing but love and devotion, so happy to meet someone new and kind. They lick him and nuzzle him.

The baby dragon is a Black Dragon, the outright most sadistic type of dragon out there. Roran goes off and gives the dragon the puppies to eat. It’s a drawn out process, but eventually the dragon is finished with the poor puppies and puts them out of their misery. I would like it noted at this point that Roran’s alignment is supposed to be Chaotic Good.

You might want to get your alignment checked.
Next the dragon demands a drink, which Roran supplies. Now it wants a hoard, so Roran gives it all his ready cash. Finally it wants a lair, so Roran heads out to find it a suitable home. Throughout all this, Roran’s player is convinced that he’s got this dragon wrapped around his little finger.
So he takes the dragon to its new lair at the bend of the local river and it likes it. So exhausted, Roran goes back to Greenest and heads to the nearest inn. The next day he gets up, does some chores around town, picks up some more puppies and heads out to the dragon’s lair. The dragon wants more loot, and Roran’s picked up a lead on some bandits in town. So the pair go out to kill bandits and take their stuff. This doesn’t go as well as it could due to the action economy being somewhat against Roran and the dragon not being interested in putting its life on the line for him, and eventually he goes down. Now while it would have been funny for the hero to die in service of an evil dragon our tale doesn’t end there. See the bandits keep him alive in order to sell him off as a slave or the like, and that night the dragon returns, curbstomps the remaining bandits, and frees him. Why? Well, Roran’s been a good slave for the dragon so far and it doesn’t want to lose such a valuable asset just yet. So Roran is sent back to town to recover and gets a message from up north saying “Shit just got real, come up north ASAP.” He recovers from his beating and heads out to tell the dragon where he’s going. The dragon is nowhere to be seen, so he waits for a few hours until it returns with a group of kobolds in tow.

It’s at this point that Roran begins to realize that he might be slightly in over his head. He tells the dragon that he’s heading north to follow up a lead on some treasure for its hoard, and the dragon lets him go with the promise of a horrible death should he betray it.

Roran regroups with the rest of the party and lays it out bare, omitting the parts about puppy killing. This is a problem, as the plot at this point is running on a timetable and we can’t afford to backtrack several days to deal with the dragon problem he’s created. So Roran decides to head back and deal with it himself, while I go off and inform the local paladin of what’s happened. Roran heads south to Greenest, picks up the one guy the guard can spare to act as backup, and goes back to the dragon’s cave. By this point the dragon has a tribe of 20 kobolds along with drakes and assorted cultists at its disposal, and is a significant threat to the region. Roran goes in and gets into a disagreement with the cultists guarding the lair, which he then escalates into a fight. The guard he brought along with him flat out flees because he’s not getting paid enough for this, and Roran suffers a rather nasty end getting mobbed by the dragon’s servants and breathed on by the dragon itself. We haven’t yet found out what happened to the region, but it’s fairly obvious that the locals are in more danger after we left than when we arrived!

In conclusion: Sometimes you create your own villain by accident. Other times, you really have to work at it. You can read the full story of our party’s misadventures right here!

Not All Adventures Scale So Well!

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