My group has spent the last several months’ worth of sessions fighting its way through, or narrowly avoiding, or dissuading, Powerful Things—a fact which on the surface probably makes me seem pretty hypocritical given Friday morning’s random encounter rant. Some of this is due to the fact that we’re just slow—we’ve had a few skipped weeks, we’ve got chatlag, one of our players is still getting the hang of the rules. Some is due to other factors. I’m pretty sure it’s not quite the same thing.
The encounters are there for a reason: if you’re hauling around the Underworld and not quite sure where you’re going, you’re probably going to run into a number of Powerful Things that aren’t the Powerful Thing you want. Particularly when the Powerful Thing you want has a pet Powerful Thing of her own. (Anathema, needless to say, is having a field day.) Most of them—the undead shipwreck leafy sea dragon half the length of a football field, for instance, or the angler that uses fake blood as a lure—were included because of a This Could Be Cool, and, well, I couldn’t figure out which one to use, so why not further establish the danger of the area by choosing both? Besides, the leafy sea dragon was meant to be deterred, not fought, and the angler was just avoided. Last week’s was purely plotty, not random at all—of course the pet Powerful Thing is going to fight its master’s enemies.
But I have to admit, the one that got started tonight was something of a surprise. Group’s fighting the plotty Powerful Thing, and winning, so it flees—one of the PCs basically yells at it that it’s being a coward, and another backs up the assertion. All right… but given it knows and I know that one more hit with Anathema and it will no longer be, turning around and fighting? Not so much. My embodiments of hatred understand that hatred can last rather than dashing itself to pieces. But then again… they’re taunting something capable of creating simulacra from partially digested souls and siccing them on its enemies.
“Dangit,” I mutter over the computer, “now I need to rangen a sea monster.”
Ten minutes later, we’ve got a new fight: one big obsidian shark-thing twice the size of the group’s amphibious vessel/submersible/thingie, streaming flame that burns underwater from its mouth and gill slits. Here we go again!