Friday, January 13, 2012

PCs Ruining Everything - How My PC's founded the Kingdom of the Gnolls

Player Characters Ruining Everything. This is the first in what I hope to be a new series of posts, of the most insane, dubious, intentionally gamebreaking, and simply stupid things that PCs do. Bonus points if they have massive unintended consequences. So feel free to send in stories of how your PCs did their utter best to ruin things, and how you worked it out, preferably in a humorous way.

This one is actually two stories, how my PC's unleashed the ghoul apocalypse and founded the Kingdom of the Gnolls. For those that don't know what a Gnoll is, in DnD it's essentially a hungry gibbering hyena man, as illustrated by this picture here.

Now there was a war going on, and they were on a mission to take and hold a keep held by a rebel lord. I tried to impress upon them that it was a strategic position controlling the plains area and important to both sides. When that didn't work, I mentioned that it was on top of a burial mound filled with treasure.

To fill in the setting, they passed by some interesting things on the way there, just outside the city was an alchemist that had managed to create a bunch of ghouls and a few ghasts. They killed the alchemist, but due to a turning attempt by the Paladin most of the monsters were still alive<. The PCs of course, chose not to follow them...not enough loot potential. The actual loot in the alchemist's hut, well they burnt the place down with some of the lesser ghouls inside. As you will see later, the PCs go-to solution of BURN THE PLACE DOWN, will come back to haunt them later.

They also met a regiment of "Fearsome Orcs and Ogres" which were really a bunch of goblins and a 12 year old human orphan with an oversized helmet that had a sign saying ogre painted on the side. Just a little tidbit to explain how the war was being conducted(incompetently.
So the party had a very lucky druid survivalist character with them...same level as everyone else, but their survival rolls ended up bringing back enough food to feed a small platoon. So I end up rolling a tribe of gnolls as a random encounter one night, and because they had so much food, instead of alerting the rest of the characters, the person on guard just tosses a big leg of goat into the bushes when they hear the rustling and strange noises. Well, the gnolls decided not to attack...instead they're now following the party. And the party....they tended not to be very diplomatic to say the least, so there are plenty of dead corpses left behind. Which meant that the gnolls were happily following along as they got their meal ticket.

The PC's finally get to the keep, which is a large fortification with a pretty epic battle that they fight both upstairs storming it, and in the dungeons where all the former soldiers are now prisoners and are being forced to mine out gems and artifacts. The PCs actually pulled off some smart moves to take the place, using cover, subterfuge and planning out avenues of attack. I was well ready to reward them richly for this.

Well, they beat the guards and orc mercenaries occupying the keep, but have the bright idea of using the storehouse/barracks as a funeral pyre. Before they checked out if there was anything worth keeping inside the place...and then things start to go sour for them. They now have about three dozen prisoners, former soldiers of their employers actually, who are unarmed and now starving. The plan to occupy and hold the keep was rapidly going downhill, despite some of the non-good characters suggesting that the prisoners be sent on a march to certain death through a war zone back to friendly lines. Even the good characters were starting to question how to deal with them when it was revealed that even with pooled rations and lucky survival roles the PCs as well as the prisoners would begin taking damage from starvation before they made it back.

That night a group of assassins(from a former employer that they screwed over, but that's another story) hit them, which they beat off, barely, I think all the PC's were down to single digit HP or unconscious. But the last two assassins, who decided that they weren't being paid enough, run out into the night, where the gnolls have been getting hungry over the past few days because, well...where are all the dead bodies the adventurers usually produce!

The gnolls eat the last two assassins and the PC's decide, hey, you know what, we're going to starve or the gnolls will eat us if we stay here. So let's give the keep to the gnolls! So they give the keep to the gnolls, at this point I gave them a little reminder about the strategic importance of the keep to the area, but they decide to just book it.

Well, they finally get back to the city they had started from...which is now a burnt wasteland as ghoul fever rampaged through the place(remember those ghouls/ghasts that they didn't think were worth chasing down). Essentially a minor zombie apocalypse had played out in their absence. Which eventually burns itself out, but took the city state out of the war. And so we come to realize, that as the war ends, both sides have been devastated, and the PC's have given the most strategic piece of real estate...AND a tomb filled with all sorts of wonderful treasure that I had rolled up for them to take, to the Gnolls....

And that is how my PC's created the Kingdom of the gnolls

1 comment:

GhengisRexx said...

Many years ago I was running an Ars Magica saga from a published source book. The book contained a fist full of adventures to be mixed in with other stories and form the framework of a campaign. In a nutshell, the players covenant is built on a long forgotten final battle ground where a renegade group of Druidic mages were slain. Over a series of years malign symptoms appear, culminating in the appearance of a survivor from the defeated mages. The survivor, demonstrating some small magical abilitites, is taken in as an assistant, and is slowly sabotaging the spells, stores and library, planning a truly epic confrontation with the pcs. Except that a player, who had missed several sessions, returned, asking who the hell is this new guy? Then uses a magic item from an unrelated adventure to sense the true motive of the boss bad guy in their midst. What I should have done was made the rolls in secret, and proceeded as I saw fit with the story. Instead, the player rolls and gets an ungodly roll (an exploding die system), and I tell him, Bad Bad, Bad intentions, and the item breaks. Unsurprisingly, he attacks. I continue my complete failure as a DM, desperately throwing dice behind my screen, and announcing that bad guy flies away and escapes. My Player notes that I didn't roll enough dice, and knows he has been robbed. (I of course can not explain why, until much later.) amazingly, a non gamer friend captures the moment in a photo. My friend quit the campaign as a result. (we do laugh about it now.) And eventually, the epic battle was fought, and bad guy killed, but I still get grief from my players about it.