Earlier this week, I talked about characters getting an idea that’s technically impossible to carry off, and doing ridiculously well anyway; as promised, here’s the inspiration.
The game: My weekly Exalted game, as usual.
The group: shuttling their Friendly Neighborhood Necromancer around inside a miles-long walking corpse to find the anchors of the necromancies animating it and have her counterspell them. Not too unusual for this lot. There they were, in the rather more literal than anyone was entirely comfortable with chest cavity of the beast, in near-pitch darkness, tightroping their way along a nerve to try to reach the heart, center of one of the necromancies in need of counterspelling, when they heard scuttling. Turning around, and applying a little light, they found themselves pursued! By maggots! Probably created through (less powerful than what had brought them in here) fell necromancies of some sort! Each at least the size of a full-grown man!
With this group, if it had become a battle, it probably would have been a cakewalk. But for a party two thirds of which is packing customized combat magic, my group is spectacularly prone to either avoiding combat or trying to creative-solution-bulldoze their way straight through it. This incident was no exception. Samar got access to the bizarre trove of materials left in the Hat by its previous owners and concocted weapons-grade bug spray. But Sky… complicated matters. Figuring the bugs were some sort of necromantic construct, he used a bit of magic that would put to rest any and all unusual corpses in its range, assuming he could overwhelm the magic that animated them.
This presented three problems.
- The bugs, having never died, didn’t fall under the heading of “special corpses”, so magic that put special corpses in the ground where they belonged didn’t seem like it would apply to them. I hinted at that pretty strongly, but he figured he’d try anyway. That one wasn’t a deal-breaker, though. If he rolled really well, it would stun them a bit, give the rest of the group time for their ideas to take effect as well. More important was….
- The group was in the chest cavity of what everyone was pretty sure was a miles-long walking corpse. This, too, might not necessarily have been too big of a problem, since the entity who’d animated said corpse was powerful enough that being able to put it to rest was highly improbable. Except that the player rolled like a demon. The creature abruptly keeling over and burying itself sounded like a TPK waiting to happen, except that…
- The corpse wasn’t actually dead, and nobody, not even the necromancer who’d reanimated it, had the slightest idea.
The solution, as I looked at the absurdly good dice roll? Step 1: the bugs are stunned. Easy enough. For the rest, I needed something to happen that would not involve their current environment giving up the ghost and burying itself, but that would be sufficiently epic to justify both the absurd roll and all the resources poured into it, and that might, if I was clever, hide the fact that the corpse wasn’t dead.
I decided on two things. One: that since the creature was controlled and directed by absurdly powerful necromancies, that the magic would recognize it as such and attempt to bury it anyway. Two: that because said necromancies were at the absurdly powerful, rules act funny around them level, that they could withstand that effect. So I described the creature trying to sink into the ground around them, but being buoyed up by the centers of power still in need of specific countering.
Not bad for a last-minute panic.