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If the spell wasn't supposed to do that, it wouldn't be in the PHB.
December 24, 2013 8:36 AM   Subscribe


 
8) Craft a custom spell that pipes Nickelback into its skull on an endless loop.
posted by delfin at 8:48 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is quite nerdy.
posted by Artw at 8:49 AM on December 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I assume Tarrasque is a unique godlike monster thing? Reminds me of many discussions we had about killing various entities from the Monster Manual (esp. Demogorgon; we really wanted to kill him!) and Deities and Demigods. In short, as artw said, quite nerdy.
posted by Mister_A at 8:53 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Merry Tarrasquemas!

[a zeppelin sinks rapidly toward you. it carries cargo larger than itself, with scales]
posted by LogicalDash at 8:54 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's only one Tarrasque, but it's not a deity of any sort. Just a magical beast which also happens to be nearly-impossible to kill.
posted by griphus at 8:59 AM on December 24, 2013


My gaming group consists of me and one other liberal arts person, with the other four people being Ph.D level physicists. Reading this, including the part where I start glossing over the text, feels really familiar.
posted by khaibit at 8:59 AM on December 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Scroll down this page a bit to find another 3.5 specific way to kill Tarrasque. Based on hirelings and enslaved/summoned creatures. Actually seems feasible in a ludicrous way!
posted by Mister_A at 9:03 AM on December 24, 2013


(esp. Demogorgon; we really wanted to kill him!)

On his home plane for (IIRC) 10x experience? And why him, in particular? What was wrong with Asmodeus? (Yes. We had exactly the same obsessions.)
posted by The Bellman at 9:03 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Asmodeus looked cool, I liked him.
posted by Mister_A at 9:04 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought the point of Tarrasque was to sic him on your friend's level 1 character.
posted by michaelh at 9:20 AM on December 24, 2013


Man, what a guy!
posted by zscore at 9:35 AM on December 24, 2013


That kinda neatly encapsulates all the things I don't like about D&D: the tendency to reduce everything to stats, the unbelievable yet completely mundane approach to magic, the implied/forced worldbuilding, the complete lack of mystery or atmosphere or (dare I say it) immersion... "You can buy a spell scroll of one of these spells for 28825gp." Feh.

Of course, if you like D&D, more power to you. Just not my style of game at all. There are many more fantasy RPGs that appeal to me far, far more.
posted by jiawen at 9:36 AM on December 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Quite nerdy indeed.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


jlawen: But D&D doesn't *have* to be that way. Many DMs I have played with modify/restrict your access to just be able to buy/find magic items. The thing people forget is that you can ignore/modify the broken rules and that many people actually do this.
posted by thewalledcity at 9:43 AM on December 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


So, this misses one opportunity.

A bard with leadership (Char 18, level 13) should attract 35 followers (minimum). This bard can then enhance them with morale bonuses and various fly/magic bow combinations (as noted in the article). This should do enough damage to take the Tarrasque down.

This is basically method 3 in the article with one huge benefit: your followers do not count as party members for dividing up XP. The bard keeps it all for themselves. (Also you have no worries about your followers running away with the excellent gear.) While this involves less than 50 fighters Bards are much better at buffing large parties than Wizards are, so it should all even out. (You could also just take leadership twice. Totally legal.)
posted by oddman at 9:44 AM on December 24, 2013


Morale bonuses still don't stack though.
posted by griphus at 9:45 AM on December 24, 2013


Also, yeah, in the decade I've been playing D&D 3.X I've never actually played a D&D game in an as-written D&D setting with Monster Manual-prescribed ecology and so on. It's like Lego; nothing says you have to build the pirate ship on the box even if you have all the parts to do it.
posted by griphus at 9:48 AM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Morale bonuses still don't stack though.

Yeah, that jumped out at me.

Also, there's a note that it can spot invisible things, so if I was the DM I wouldn't give much of a bonus for Improved Invisibility. Arguably would let it spot illusions, too, but I dunno.
posted by curious nu at 9:48 AM on December 24, 2013


thewalledcity, very true. But D&D itself seems to imply so much that it requires a lot of effort by the GM to keep those influences out. I'd rather play a game that's already built for that purpose.
posted by jiawen at 9:48 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but it's one Bard using perform and then casting things like haste, which aren't morale based.
posted by oddman at 9:49 AM on December 24, 2013


And then your bastard of a DM reveals that there's a high level evil wizard waiting in the wings who has researched a method of turning himself into a Tarrasquelich, and you've just provided him with the one material component needed, a tarraque corpse.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:56 AM on December 24, 2013 [24 favorites]


With D&D, you really just have to know your DM. Just like some umps are more forgiving on the strike zone, some DMs are more forgiving on PCs' access, for instance, to geographically or temporally inappropriate items. And if I was the DM, I assure you, the rule book would be read in the Tarrasque's favor in order to dissuade future such expeditions and give myself a chuckle, should the players try such min-max rules lawyering approaches.
posted by Mister_A at 9:58 AM on December 24, 2013


4 dreaded words:

"Oops it sees you!"

But having said that, I still enjoy the exercise of thinking up how to kill ridiculous D&D monsters.
posted by Mister_A at 9:59 AM on December 24, 2013


9) cast twerk spell and run like hell
posted by pyramid termite at 10:02 AM on December 24, 2013


Do you know how hard it is to get the components to cast Miley's Interposing Twerk?
posted by cmfletcher at 10:04 AM on December 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


I was hoping for a Wallace Stevens parody. I guess I get "brief disappointment" under the tree this year....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:05 AM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


That kinda neatly encapsulates all the things I don't like about D&D: the tendency to reduce everything to stats, the unbelievable yet completely mundane approach to magic, the implied/forced worldbuilding, the complete lack of mystery or atmosphere or (dare I say it) immersion... "You can buy a spell scroll of one of these spells for 28825gp." Feh.

Every D&D book I've ever read has made it plain that the rules are never gospel. AD&D 2E could not have been more clear about the fact that a healthy proportion of its rules are nothing more than mutually incompatible options.

I mean, if you like other systems better, then that's totally cool, but there's nothing about D&D itself to box you in, in the way you describe.

...

That said, part of me wonders if there was a culture change between 2E and 3.x/d20, which is to also say between TSR and WOTC.

AD&D 2E existed before "everybody" was on the internet. The rules included an ever-increasing hodgepodge of optional supplements. Netbooks existed, but they were obviously fanmade, noncanonical love letters. 2E became a hoary old system that was notorious for twisting into house rules.

Then 3.x/d20 rolled along, along with the OGL. Then the culture around D&D shifted into the idea that 3.x/d20 was this fundamental system of rules undergirding all kinds of material. Third party splatbooks became a thing, with everybody following the same basic rules. Wouldn't that have made it seem like 3.x/d20 was the One True Way to run things, as opposed to 2E's hodgepodge?

I never really played 3.x/d20. Was there more of a culture around the idea that you had to work within 3.x's system, as opposed to 2E just being a "good enough" system that everybody generally agreed upon, in order to take advantage of TSR's often-excellent world-building?
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:05 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, while this article is a lot of fun, the more "serious" side is that some entities really should be literally off-limits. Like, if you run a Planescape campaign, and then the players kill the Lady of Pain, then your campaign has spiraled out of control. That is, unless you've already thought of truly hilarious ensuing negative consequences, e.g. her death throes produce infinite mazes spanning in all directions, including up and down.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:10 AM on December 24, 2013


(Killing a tarrasque should be cool, though, especially if it's really meant to be a Kobayashi Maru kind of thing.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:12 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd say that publishers definitely adhered to the rules framework in the main books (as opposed to creating new frameworks to layer over the main books) much more in 3.5 than in 2e. You don't see something like Unearthed Arcana (with radically new ways to do things.) That, in turn, makes it easier for gaming groups to default to by-the-book game play.

However, if you are in an ad-hoc, do things as you feel, group, there's nothing stopping you from continuing along that path. The homogeneity in the rules structure actually makes it a bit easier, since when you decide to do something like let moral bonuses stack, it works in a predictable way for all of the supplements.
posted by oddman at 10:12 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you know how hard it is to get the components to cast Miley's Interposing Twerk?

a bottle of tequila and a boombox can't cost that much gp

hmmm ...

well, alright, a traincar of tequila and motorhead's p a system can't cost that much gp
posted by pyramid termite at 10:14 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suppose the problem is more the culture that suggests that playing precisely by the rules-as-written is the only way to do it. Players come to expect that everything in the rules is fair game, and the rules themselves kind of encourage it, in an evening news "12 things you NEED to not get carjacked" kind of way. Put together, that makes a lot of pressure towards constantly including everything in the rules-as-written. "What? Why can't I have this vorpal blade? I know you said we're running a low-powered campaign. You should see my character who dual wields Wands of Orcus! Now that's high-powered. Just having a vorpal sword does not make this character high-powered." Like I said, it takes a lot of effort by the GM to keep those influences out.

And all the other assumptions implicit in D&D, from how magic works to how the economy works, make me want to run screaming away. And run towards a game built from scratch to be more my play-style.
posted by jiawen at 10:24 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trying this shit on CoC keepers not recommended...
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on December 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


Back in my D&D days we'd use the tarrasque as the gaming table's Krampus. Be good little wizards and thieves and don't try to derail my story or I'll send a tarrasque at you next week! For us, it was a better tool for classroom management than epic plot device.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:24 AM on December 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Was there more of a culture around the idea that you had to work within 3.x's system, as opposed to 2E just being a "good enough" system that everybody generally agreed upon, in order to take advantage of TSR's often-excellent world-building?

Yeah, 3/3.5 was definitely felt like it was meant to be a sort of antidote to the opaqueness of what 2E/AD&D became at the end, which was exactly as you describe.

My friends and I started playing D&D literally a few months before 3.0 was released, so we had a bit of an introduction to the last version of AD&D and then when 3.0 came out it was just so much easier to play, especially because we didn't have anyone playing with us who had RPed before.

And, again, we very rarely used the campaign settings/ecologies that came with the books, although that was a combination of books being expensive, and all of us bursting with ideas already that we honestly just needed a system and some props (the spells, for instance) to get us started.
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm currently DMing (my first time!) a 3.5 game in an early-industrial setting I wrote from scratch, with robots automatons and shit. The PCs don't really mind additionally restrictive rules/saying "no you can't do that even if it is in the rules" as long as it's fair.

And if/when I DM again, and even if I'm treating the rules in the books as the word of god, druids are still banned.
posted by griphus at 10:36 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aww, druids are just like any other class that can do everything.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:38 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


That said, part of me wonders if there was a culture change between 2E and 3.x/d20, which is to also say between TSR and WOTC.

Just as an historical footnote, I think several details you mention about that culture change were engineered by a few key folks with strong visions. I once spoke with Jonathan Tweet about designing D&D 3.0, and he mentioned he wanted D&D 3.0 to encourage a feeling of mastery in its players--a sense that by digging deeper and thinking harder about rules interactions, you'd achieved something. And that idea sure worked out.

Meanwhile, I understand from others that Ryan Dancey was the OGL's champion who wanted d20 to be ubiquitous, for one thing as a way of getting other companies to create more and more marginal work that would ensure sales of WotC's "evergreen" core books, but also as a guarantee to the community that, if the obviously increasingly corporate WotC ever decided to rein things in, their work could go on freely. And that worked out pretty well too.

That's not to diminish the roles of others who were involved, but a lot of this stuff wasn't an accident.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:41 AM on December 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, the article makes a comment about how T doesn't carry any gold. Big deal! Turn its hide into armor, use organs for spell components, feed the kingdom for a couple of years.
posted by curious nu at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2013


Indeed. T should carry a hefty bounty if nothing else.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:46 AM on December 24, 2013


A friend just pointed me towards this: "Owlbears, Rust Monsters and Bulettes, Oh My!" The dimestore origins of those Monster Manual favorites. Interesting gaming history.
posted by jiawen at 10:46 AM on December 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


On the other hand, digging through various rulebooks for just the right combination of spells to solve a problem is about as close as it's possible to get in real life to being an actual D&D wizard creating spells from snippets in ancient tomes of forgotten lore.
posted by Copronymus at 10:47 AM on December 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


And on the topic of using a tarrasque to feed a kingdom, there's this venerable RPG.net thread: "The city built around the tarrasque".
posted by jiawen at 10:49 AM on December 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'd like to see this article for the tarrasque in 1E/2E, as a comparison.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:52 AM on December 24, 2013


On the other hand, digging through various rulebooks for just the right combination of spells to solve a problem is about as close as it's possible to get in real life to being an actual D&D wizard creating spells from snippets in ancient tomes of forgotten lore.

This is how I code.
posted by curious nu at 10:58 AM on December 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is how I code.

Oh god it's you
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:05 AM on December 24, 2013 [17 favorites]


Are you saying there is another way?!
posted by curious nu at 11:06 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


/* LEAVE COMMENTED OUT - EXPLOSIVE RUNES */
posted by griphus at 11:07 AM on December 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


scrollhub.com
posted by invitapriore at 11:12 AM on December 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I always liked the Tarrasque rodeo. Who can stay on the longest before being eaten/crushed/otherwise horribly killed. Halflings glued to the saddle do not count.
posted by Hactar at 11:15 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


iäQuery.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on December 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


That said, part of me wonders if there was a culture change between 2E and 3.x/d20, which is to also say between TSR and WOTC.

There's also the rise of the MMORPG with its "optimum builds" and such. I remember feeling a change in gaming when I heard a gamestore clerk talking about Damage Per Round and Buffs and stuff for a 3.0 cleric. Certainly there have always been players that have approached RPGs as minmax problems, but MMORPGs really helped to standardize that behavior. 3.0 and the OGL brought in lots of new players - I suspect a good chunk of them had WoW or Everquest experience, perhaps moreso than those who had fantasy lit backgrounds.

Given D&D's origins in wargaming, this move was to be expected though. I think a lot of us looked back on our previous gaming experiences through rose colored glasses, remembering only the highlights of our gametables, not the accountancy aspects.

And we totally killed a tarrasque in 2nd ed by crashing a Spelljammer ship into it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:31 AM on December 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


I broke at the "Polyphonic Bard Chorus" method.

Lovely demonstration of very, very advanced munchkinism, all over.
posted by seyirci at 11:45 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Legality. This is completely legal. A.

I think this is why my HR department doesn't like me.
posted by underflow at 11:46 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see this article for the tarrasque in 1E/2E


I am 99% sure there was no tarrasque in 1st edition. I got out of D&D regularlike around the time that 2nd ed. was rolling out and I am sure I never heard the name back in the eighties. From my vantage point in Call of Cthulhu and GURPS, I later heard vague rumours, the way medieval Frenchmen may have heard about the Great Wall of China: that sounds like an impressive thing, but I will never see it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:46 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most of these work on some frankly ridiculous assumptions, especially if I'm DMing. Like:

"Our cleric will be polymorphed (from a scroll) into a Girallon"

A what? has your cleric even heard of that? And:

Our cleric will wear a mithril chain shirt with the "of Speed"
enchantment from Defenders of the Faith. This makes him permanently
hasted. It's a little pricey, but he really should have one anyway.


Where the heck are you getting that? The wealth guidelines are for me, not for you. Let's not even start on where you're thinking you'll buy the "ring of three wishes with one wish left" at a discount.

How about the one with two people performing a coup-de-grace at the same time on the sleeping Tarrasque? It's not something you can both do at the same time to double the effect. (Also, you cannot effectively perform it "over and over". It's not "just another kind of attack". Check your dictionary, kiddo.)

I used to run Planescape campaigns. This kind of nonsense was why Dolores was specifically never given a stat block.
posted by mrgoat at 11:49 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am 99% sure there was no tarrasque in 1st edition.

I believe it was in the 1st-edition Monster Manual II.
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:53 AM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I believe it was in the 1st-edition Monster Manual II.

I can see how you'd miss it, though, among all the Modrons and legendary demons and other completely weird junk.
posted by Copronymus at 12:00 PM on December 24, 2013


ricochet biscuit: "I am 99% sure there was no tarrasque in 1st edition. I got out of D&D regularlike around the time that 2nd ed. was rolling out and I am sure I never heard the name back in the eighties."

As mentioned, it was introduced in the 1E MMII, which was published in 1983.

Some people might term this as edition 1.5, along with UA and the DSG and WSG, but that seems like splitting hairs a bit.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:04 PM on December 24, 2013


"...but sharing the experience from your kill with a bunch of first-level weenies is just morally repugnant."

Occupy Greyhawk!
posted by Gorgik at 12:07 PM on December 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


Let's not even start on where you're thinking you'll buy the "ring of three wishes with one wish left" at a discount.

Original owner has first wish go horribly awry; second wish goes even more horribly awry and ends up killing the owner. Next owner of the ring is Genre Savvy enough not to use the final wish.

Of course, the character(s) attempting to kill the Tarrasque are not so Genre Savvy.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:14 PM on December 24, 2013


Dice? Unless you're playing it with chits, you're doing it wrong.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:17 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a Monster Manual TWO??
posted by mikelieman at 12:19 PM on December 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's at least five for 3.5. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of IV and V for my current campaign.
posted by griphus at 12:21 PM on December 24, 2013


I've never played DnD in my life, but I love crap like this. Sure, most of these ideas would be impossible to implement in a 'real' campaign, but they're just thought exercises, aren't they? "Given the many lists of complicated rules and spells and abilities for this universe, how might we possibly deal with X threat in a way that technically makes sense within this universe?" I can imagine a bunch of drunk adventurers sitting around in a pub within the DnD universe, trying to figure out just HOW they could defeat X legendary creature, if only they had so much money and such-and-such spells...
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:37 PM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's at least five for 3.5. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of IV and V for my current campaign.

when 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not
posted by mikelieman at 12:44 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Couldn't I just convince a Hecatoncheires that the Terrasque made lewd insinuations about its mother and let the two of them sort it out?

(I always treated those mind-bogglingly powerful NPCs as things the players will never face, unless your campaign has gone off the rails — or you really wanted to kill the party off.)
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:35 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


thewalledcity: "Many DMs I have played with modify/restrict your access to just be able to buy/find magic items. "

I don't think I've ever played with a DM that would let you buy anything useful.
posted by Mitheral at 1:40 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am 99% sure there was no tarrasque in 1st edition.

As mentioned above, there was, and I seem to remember the 3E Tarrasque being kind of a let-down after the might Tarrasque in 2nd edition. I mean, in addition to the very old dragons, the link itself mentions that there will probably be stronger monsters in the Epic Level Handbook, as indeed there are, a plethora of monsters of greater level than 20, although most of them don't have things like requiring that you literally wish them to death.

Since its introduction, the Tarrasque has had that reputation of being the top of the heap, the toughest monster in the game, the thing your DM throws at you if he wants to be very slightly more subtle than Rocks Fall Everyone Dies.
posted by JHarris at 1:47 PM on December 24, 2013


This is great.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:12 PM on December 24, 2013


Fun read. I laughed at the Army of Bards proposal.

What about the Jaws strategy? Build some kind of colossal bomb, and use some kind of illusion to trick the T into eating it.
posted by Alaska Jack at 2:13 PM on December 24, 2013


Or get a magical Jaegar.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:28 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a Monster Manual TWO??

There is no Fiend Folio II. And that's bad.
posted by Mezentian at 2:43 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, does anyone want anything while I'm getting a Mountain Dew?!
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:54 PM on December 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


From Something Awful's WTF D&D: The Immortals Handbook: Epic Bestiary. Seems relevant.
posted by Mezentian at 2:55 PM on December 24, 2013


Well there's always the Peasant Railgun.

This method assumes that the method wasn't very specifically errata'd out in 3.5 as compared to 3, that your DM is OK with ballista bolts reaching some moderate percentage of c, and that your DM is OK with you being a complete asshole to physics.

Similar to one of the described methods, one takes leadership. After boosting ones charisma as high as it can naturally go. One then has many hundreds of followers (though not actually called followers, they're peasants who won't fight and die for you). You get to them stand next to each other, single file, with yourself leading the thin snaking column and you poor sod at the back holding an extremely heat resistant ballista bolt. Now, passing an object to someone is a free action (or it was, at any rate), and all of the followers can be ordered to reserve an action to immediately pass any ballista bolts they are handed forward. Free actions are immediate and cost no time, so you can probably see where this is going.

The ballista bolt reaches you instantly, breaking all laws of physics. Luckily, you are able to throw it at the Tarrasque (augmented in some way to do so), and use the distance between the end of the line and the wee beastie covered over the course of a six second round to come up with an average (and not infinite) speed.

The ballista bolt then does one or more of many interesting things. Among these, it could hit the beast, turning it inside out and showering the landscape with Tarrasque pieces, each of which would probably require Deep Blue to model the behavior of. It could miss. Regardless of whatever else it does, it'd going to incinerate everything within some radius as it skims across the surface of the earth and breaks out into space. Space bolt. Spaaaaaaaace...

Anyways, this might not be legal anymore. It might never have been legal, if your DM could see this plan coming before you jumped him or her with it, and had the presence of mind to shut you down looooooong before you hand waved through hundreds of peasants acting in miraculous concert, the rules for this being rather stretchy, and the physics that you want to use for damage conflicting with the physics not actually working.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:09 PM on December 24, 2013 [27 favorites]


Sadly I think Randall has put the kibosh on hitting things with objects thrown at near relativistic speeds.
posted by Mitheral at 3:14 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Free actions are immediate and cost no time, so you can probably see where this is going.

That is one beautiful loophole in the wording of the rules you've got there.
posted by straight at 3:15 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


In all fairness, the 1st edition MM2 version of the Tarrasque is somewhat less overwhelming.

(The kids got the comics and the Magic cards, the wife got the rock collection for the garden, but the 1st ed. AD&D books will be buried with me.)
posted by underflow at 3:16 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Slackermagee: "Free actions are immediate and cost no time, so you can probably see where this is going. "
Dear Bog, this is awesome. If I were your DM I'd kill you last, you're funny.
posted by brokkr at 4:01 PM on December 24, 2013


Modern D&D really is no longer a game I recognise, rule-wise.
But player behaviour remains the same.
posted by Mezentian at 4:05 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The peasant railgun fails because there's no rules for lateral momentum. QED.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:10 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm reminded of my first time I was a DM. My players bought a cartload of manure and barrels of lamp oil. The resulting anachronistic ANFO bomb made short work of the kobold cave.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:16 PM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


This thread is a beautiful thing, and has reintroduced me to many a nostalgic topic of my childhood. Also I snorted a double IPA at the peasant railgun, and it burns.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:26 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't read that first sentence correctly, but I got so caught up in the plan and the rules and the physics that I forgot all about it until the very end and when I went back to check I was like, So why is it called the Penguin Railgun? Which is, I think you will agree, a better name regardless.
posted by steef at 4:29 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can see how you'd miss it, though, among all the Modrons and legendary demons and other completely weird junk.

Right. Or in my case, amongst the laboriously illustrated creatures rendered as brown ovals with four tubular legs and a tiny brownish head. I had forgotten about that.

I showed that charmingly illustrated MMII to my gaming group a week ago. One of my group is an internet famous web comic artist. He mused on the value of going out and buying up used copies and illustrating the hitherto undepicted monsters in his inimitable style, then reselling the books.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:07 PM on December 24, 2013


I further plead that I bought the MMII the same day I met Gary Gygax (indeed, the same day thanatopsis met Gary Gygax), which , as D&D-crazy teenage, really wiped out everything else from that day.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:15 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


My favourite specimen of this genre is the FIRST INVITATIONAL KILL ELMINSTER COMPETITION.

I like the one where he ends up unconscious in a portable hole being hit by two zombies with saps, forever, and the one where he is brain blasted by psionic hummus.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:34 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was very remiss in mentioning that the Peasant Railgun is definitely not my own invention, it was something generated either by someone on the internet a long time ago, someone in a chat room, or by one of my college friends late at night.

Also, I'm pretty sure the damage was hand waved in as falling damage using the ratio of terminal velocity damage to terminal velocity and flinging that "constant" at whatever the bolts final speed was for the number of d6s of damage. Rounded down, of course.

That, or someone was monkeying about with strength scores required to fire different bows at their maximum ranges (composite bows) and we're running conversions off of that?
posted by Slackermagee at 6:14 PM on December 24, 2013


And from following these links I learned of Pun-Pun, the infinitely powerful 3rd level kobold that can achieve godhood in seconds and a 3.5 build. This stuff is strangely fun. Part of the joy with games like Baldur's Gate was playing with the rules to optimize character builds.

Let's hear it for the kensai/sorcerer double classes, y'all!
posted by blahblahblah at 6:40 PM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a photo of the Tarasque. (No, the turtle on the left, the guy on the right is my partner albeit also a legendary monster.) It's a sort of dragon-like thing from Provence.
posted by Nelson at 7:43 PM on December 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Haven't played since 2nd ed, but from reading OotS, Bards in 3.x seem much more powerful.

How often/popular are "DeathMetal" "KILLemALL!" SUPERSTAR (a la Dethklok) bards played? Or are everyone still doing the good looking minstrel thing? (ie., are there any good examples of "evil bards?" I'd love to read some!)

I could totally see a bard using CHA to acquire a horde of music-buffed mindless minions. Heh, that could be a great villain; a siren-like entity with enmity against PC-interests. Hook could be retrieving someone for someone from the "evil bard."
posted by porpoise at 9:53 PM on December 24, 2013


Fun read. I laughed at the Army of Bards proposal.

Unfortunately, as he admits, that's the one that couldn't ever possibly work, because all those bonuses simply don't stack. It's against the rules, the results would be a flat +1 to attack and damage and not +50. This really should be called Six Ways To Kill The Tarrasque And One Case Of Wishful Thinking.
posted by JHarris at 10:07 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Slackermagee: "Free actions are immediate and cost no time, so you can probably see where this is going. "

"So, yeah, boss. Kinda figured you'd wanted the ballista bolt right away so I brought it with me to the front of the line. Here it is."
posted by porpoise at 10:30 PM on December 24, 2013


I never really played 3.x/d20. Was there more of a culture around the idea that you had to work within 3.x's system

Both a conscious design for that, and a culture of that. It was a hugely different result: if you play 3E by the book you are playing it the way most 3E play it. If you play 2E (or, God help you, 1E) by the book, you are playing it the way basically no one actually played it.
posted by bleep-blop at 2:50 AM on December 25, 2013


I was hoping for a Wallace Stevens parody. I guess I get "brief disappointment" under the tree this year....

Happy Christmas!


THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE TARRASQUE
With apologies to Wallace Stevens

1

Among twenty snowy mountains
The only moving thing
Was the heaving mass of the tarrasque

2

I was of three minds,
Like three men
About to be crushed by the tarrasque.

3

The autumn winds whirled around the tarrasque.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

4

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a tarrasque
Are one tarrasque.

5

I do not know which to prefer
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes.
The tarrasque smashing
Or just after.

6

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass
The shadow of the tarrasque
Crossed it, to, since there could be no fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause*.

7

O thin men of Halruaa,
Why do you imagine flying cities?
Do you see how the women about you
are crushed under the feet
of the tarrasque?

8

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable screams;
But I know, too,
That the tarrasque is involved
In what I know.

9

When the tarrasque moved out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many ruins.

10

At the sight of tarrasque
slouching in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

11

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For the tarrasque.

12

The river is moving.
The tarrasque must be breathing.

13

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The tarrasque sat
In what used to be the cedar-limbs.

*DM
posted by ersatz at 5:00 AM on December 25, 2013 [22 favorites]


Dear ersatz,

You have brought me my Christmas wish! Bless you, one and all!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:53 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


scrollhub.com

scrolloverflow.com
posted by 168 at 6:53 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean...

Q: "I'm trying to kill this dragon but keep getting a nil pointer error. HELP QUIVK its eaten the rest of my party AND ITS COMING RIGHT AT ME!"

A: "No homework!"
posted by 168 at 6:57 PM on December 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


For the record here is the text from the original publication of stats for The Tarrasque.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:58 PM on December 25, 2013


7

O thin men of Halruaa,
Why do you imagine flying cities?
Do you see how the women about you
are crushed under the feet
of the tarrasque?


I dunno. Flying cities seem to be a reasonable solution to the crushed-underfoot problem.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:11 AM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think I've ever played with a DM that would let you buy anything useful.
posted by Mitheral at 1:40 PM on December 24 [3 favorites +] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by euphorb at 8:43 PM on December 26, 2013


> "For the record here is the text from the original publication of stats for The Tarrasque."

'The legendary tarrasque is possibly the most dreaded monster of all, for when it is active it ravishes the countryside for miles.'

Ravishes? Not ravages?

What exactly is the tarrasque doing to the countryside?!
posted by kyrademon at 5:43 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


What exactly is the tarrasque doing to the countryside?!

Chillaxing.
What do you do in the country?
posted by Mezentian at 6:33 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I ask because my players insist I stick to RAW as much as possible in my rulings.

Therefore, since one definition of ravishing is archaic and one makes no sense in context, I am apparently required to have the first sight of the dreaded tarrasque, scourge of kingdoms, include a description of it having sex with the countryside.

Please advise.
posted by kyrademon at 7:43 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ravishes? Not ravages?

You find a lot of this in early AD&D. I seem to recall that monks are not ascetics but aesthetics.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:59 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yep. 1E PHB, page 30: Monks are monastic aesthetics who practice rigorous mental and physical training and discipline in order to become superior.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:52 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Monks are monastic aesthetics thing causes us a few problems as kids.
posted by Mezentian at 5:47 PM on December 27, 2013


I remember the dreaded Minions of Set occasionally becoming the less-dreaded Minionions of Set in pre-proof reading days. No doubt they added subtle evil notes to stews and sauces.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:57 PM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Roll to save versus eye irritation."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:37 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Flying cities seem to be a reasonable solution to the crushed-underfoot problem.

That's why I removed 'not'. Flying cities are a solution as long as the magic powering them is operating.
posted by ersatz at 5:29 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's why I removed 'not'. Flying cities are a solution as long as the magic powering them is operating.

To be fair, if those magics suddenly fail, "being crushed underfoot" still remains pretty far down in the "list of problems that need attention."
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:46 AM on December 29, 2013


Maybe you could crash it on top the tarrasque? At least take the thing with you.
posted by JHarris at 7:10 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's why I removed 'not'. Flying cities are a solution as long as the magic powering them is operating.

It seems to amount to the same kind of question, but I was just picking nits for mildly humorous effect. It's a good parody.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:02 AM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


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