I fear you, ancient mariner…

It was a very odd D&D session.

Ostensibly, all we had to do was get on a boat from point A to point B. There were lots of things to do on the boat. The module designer had written lots of them in. There were (apparently) illicit fights, war profiteers, and card games.

We saw none of these things.

Instead we wandered into the extradimensional Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe (you know the kind, it’s always run by an ancient Chinese man and sells things you can’t feed after midnight, except that Kevin can’t do a Chinese accent, so we wound up with an ancient Chinese man who had apparently spent some time in Pittsburgh. Given what the halfling crew sounded like, we didn’t press the issue, particularly after he’d gotten his wires crossed and we wound up with a Mexican-Norwegian bartender. “O, yah, yah, si…” We live in the most ethnically diverse fantasy world…)

So we wandered around the Shoppe, finding things from other realities, magical items from Oglaf, a Necronomicon for kids, the Hellraiser cube, Pokeballs, the things you can’t feed after midnight…

And then Kevin tried to come up with one more bit of flavor text from our collective geek backgrounds, and said “There’s a brown fuzzy thing with a huge mouth and little feet in a cage. It’s yelling.”

This was a tactical error.

I watched the Dark Crystal about eight hundred times as a child, and even if I hadn’t, my character is a paladin with a heart of moosh, and Kevin compounded his error by uttering the phrase “It looks sad.”

There was no way we were getting out of the Shoppe without liberating it. Fortunately for everyone, it was in Rooster the paladin’s price range, and we did not have to stage an armed raid that would get us throw off the boat.

The other characters did their best to dissuade him. “It’ll scream through our attempts at stealth!” “It’ll eat the horses!” “We’re in a dangerous line of work! We can’t keep pets!” “It’s from another dimension! We don’t know if it’ll be happy here!”

To which Rooster had the all-defeating argument “BUT IT LOOKS SAD!”

Never get between one of my paladins and a small sad animal.

There was a brief snag when it came out that, while not evil, the creature was technically demonic in origin (Kevin: “Crap, it failed its saving throw vs. being-a-demon.” ) Rooster, as it happens, belongs to a somewhat fanatical demon-hunting order. Did this dissuade him?

Of course not.

ROOSTER: Now it’s a business expense!

It was finally agreed that if the creature warmed to him (it did) and did not eat the horses (it didn’t) Rooster could keep it until such time as we found a demon rehabber going in the direction of the creature’s home dimension who could take it home. Which, in one of our campaigns, could happen. You never know. (I always thought monster-rehabbers would be a great campaign hook for the correct sort of players, of which I am one, but y’know…)

And so, for the fourth or fifth time now, Kevin is grimly writing up stats for what he thought was a bit of local flavor.

Meanwhile, Wilhelmina the gnome wound up at the bar with a hoary ancient mariner, who had a very strange story involving albatrosses, and kept buying him drinks, with the end result that poor Kevin had to read most of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in character, which he did with great style, except that the gnome wouldn’t let him stop.

GNOME: This is fascinating! Tell me more!
GM: Now you’re just fuckin’ with me…
GNOME: I need to know more! I eat more chips and buy him another drink!
GM (wearily): One by one, by the star-dogged moon…

This continued on until after 11 pm, whereupon we called it a night. And then Kevin pinned my arm and insisted on reading another half dozen stanzas at me, because he claimed to be suffering from poetus interruptus.

5 thoughts on “I fear you, ancient mariner…

  1. Nimras says:

    Now I’m curious. Was there really a physical copy of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, or was there frantic google searching? *grin*

  2. Pingback: Geeking Out About… » Trisha’s Quote of the Day: When flavor text goes wrong

  3. Ellie says:

    It has become my fondest wish to play a game with you. I’ve never even played an rpg, but this? This is brilliant! I find myself irrationally wishing I lived in NC (heat is not my friend) just so I could have the minescule chance of meeting, befriending and eventually gaming with you.

    Sigh…no one games in Central New York. I am game-less.

  4. Hermes Birkin says:

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