Impractical Applications (Surprise!)

Earlier this week, I talked about arranging surprises for the GM. I’d had occasion to practice; this week, I got to arrange one such surprise in my primary game. Imagine, if you will, having to make an escape from a world that isn’t exactly your own, right under the nose of something very large and very powerful that could make mincemeat of you pretty easily. Now imagine that you’ve come up with a way to elude it, but that way involves using a mirror to sneak into an other-reality version of that other-reality, and mirrors aren’t exactly in common supply where you are.

That was about the situation my group found ourselves both in and exploiting. We’d had several weeks to think about this, and when I have that kind of lead time, I plan. I started, of course, with catering to my GM; he’s a very Rule of Cool oriented individual, so I made a point of ensuring that I kept that in mind in all my endeavors.

And I did tell him most of the plan—what I wanted to do, what my contingencies were, how I was arranging safe passage through the mirror-dimension, what was being used as a diversion for what. Details are good, and in this case they even allowed him to throw a “Bet you never saw THIS coming” right back at me. The one detail I left as a surprise was just how I planned to get into the mirror-realm itself.

This is where my friends come in. See, one of the other players had an ability that basically translated to improvisational sorcery. Turning a vaguely reflective surface into an appropriate dedicated mirror for long enough for us to use it sounded like a perfect low-difficulty application thereof. But the sorcery was known to be unpredictable, so I didn’t think I could let him know I was planning on it ahead of time. On the other hand, I’d been back-and-forthing with the other two group members on the project—the one who had the ability in particular, though I ran it by both of them. The actual execution ended up being a three-part coordinated trick with extra effort by the character with the actual ability, and looked downright spectacular.

Then there was the question-asking. What I’d wanted was a large picture window, or a large brass wall. When I asked what the area we were in looked like, I didn’t get much in the way of specifics, except that the building materials weren’t quite as shiny as I expected them to be. So I phrased the question differently, asking not if there were shiny reflective windows large enough to take up a wall, but if there were large windows one could feasibly dramatically crash through in a spray of glass while being at considerably larger than human size. And then he mentioned bathhouses with large windows of the appropriate sort, and… well, water’s always good for a reflective surface, and being able to use the windows as I’d originally asked was an added bonus.

All in all, it was a good surprise, and well-received.

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