Player Perspective: The Shady PC – Game Store Game 1 (Part 2)

      I may primarily run TTRPGs as the Game Master, but when I get the chance to play in a game, I jump on it. In this segment, Player Persective: The Shady PC, I share my experiences as a player at the game table.


      In the last segment of Player Perspective, I introduced you to my 5th level Druid, Mr. Bighands.

I know I hang with fire elementals, but come on.

Woa! That fire’s a little close, bud.

      Our boat ride ended when we encountered a small barren beach nestled between two immense and impenetrable sheering rock faces. We are adventurers, so we strove forth!

DM has a thing for swarms. I was ready to hide under the boat.

Bring it on!

      We encountered a 100ft perpendicular drop nearby – our destination. A Woodshape spell to make a post and a rope tie later, and all but the Warforged had made the descent. Then we saw what was delaying the Warforged…


Player: “I drag the boat to the edge and sit in it. I’m going to ride it down!”

      This particular player has never played a TTRPG before. So far he has tried to intimidate nearly everything he encounters: including PCs. But I’m easy-going, and it’s a different kind of play experience for me, so I try not to give him shit (although I did read aloud what Intimidate actually does so that he would stop mechanically antagonizing our allies.)

      I was still surprised when he announced his intention to dive bomb off the 100ft cliff. Particularly because we were making the climb to save our boat.

C’est la vie.

Get on with it!

Guess we're gonna have a long walk...

CRASH! Boat captain: “By the gods, you &@%?#  $!@&# Warforged! That was my boat!”

      The DM was pretty sure that Cornerstone the Warforged was going to meet his demise. He even warned the player of this. But to everyone’s surprise, the fall merely brings the hulking metal-man down to single digit HP.

      (Note: Although this action was unanimously considered stupid, we all shared a good laugh and offered our interpretations of how this free fall may have looked. Everyone was smiling, and it was one the session’s  highlights. In terms of “the game”, this was an absolutely terrible decision. In terms of the play experience, it turned out to be awesome. I peered across the table to glance his character sheet. I laughed. “He does have a Wisdom of 6.” The Halfling Warlock’s player suggests, “That Warforged came out of the forge wrong.”)

“That was fun!” Cornerstone says.

      The Halfling Warlock begins to laugh heartily, and his player knocks his miniature over to represent him rolling on the ground, laughing. (Note: Here’s a great example where miniatures help express role-playing!)

“Fun?!” echo the captain and myself.

“Now we’ve got no way back and you’ve alerted everything around here to our presence,” says Mr. Bighands. “But that was pretty cool.”

“Wait,” the Elf Ranger says as he draws his bow. “I think I hear something.”

      The vegetation is very thick here, and we can barely see more than 15 feet.

I was tempted to play the Jurassic Park theme on my phone.

Did someone ring the dinner bell?

      The dinosaurs are stealthy, but the shifting plants and subtle chirps give them away. The Elf Ranger shoots an arrow into the dense forestation, but the shot plants itself firmly into a tree.

      The Halfing Warlock quickly gets to his feet and backs himself against the cliff. “Alright! Raptors!”

      Mr. Bighands moves between the Elf and the Warforged to prepare for the assualt. Before our boat captain can act, the “raptors” are upon us.


“Velociraptor’s a pack hunter, you see, he uses coordinated attack patterns and he is out in force today. And he slashes at you with this, a six-inch retractable claw, like a razor, on the the middle toe. He doesn’t bother to bite your jugular like a lion, say… no no. He slashes at you here, or here, or maybe across the belly, spilling your intestines.”
The point is, you are alive when they start to eat you.”
Dr. Alan Grant – Jurassic Park

      Now that they’re out of the brush, we can see that these nasty dinos are rocking two gnarly tentacles on either side of their torsos. “They look similar to Displacer Beast tentacles, but green,” remarks the DM. Fantastic…

      (Note: This really was fantastic. The DM has a super impressive assortment of miniatures, and when he brought these raptors onto the table my eyes went wide. When he described their strange abberant nature, I was stoked to take them on! A D&D monster I haven’t fought, yet? Yeehaw!)

      Mr. Bighands is part of the Gatekeepers, a Druidic order devoted to destroying unnatural things of aberrant or extra-planar origin. That means I’m obliged to kick some displacer-raptor ass. My character’s only feats are designed for killing Abberrations like these.

      (Note: Mr. Bighands was made by the DM, name and all. He is not a character I would have made, but he’s tailored for the story and a blast to play. In my opinion, this is an example of how DM generated characters can be a great option.)



      A raptor rushes Mr. Bighands and tries to grab him with its tentacles. Mr. Bighands may have an AC 11, but he’s also got a +5 vs. grapple. He knocks aside the pesky tentacles and winds back with his club. Mr. Bighands’  attack rings true, and he bashes the raptor in the side. But the Raptor still stands. I use a swift action to activate my Bracers of Quickstrike: their once per day ability allows me to “break the rules” and make another attack!

“Die, vile creature!” Mr. Bighands screams, as his magically enhanced speed powers an instantaneous swing at his hated foe.

      Mr. Bighands’ second attack is a success! I roll well on my damage and drop the bugger. I was quite relieved, as they have something like a 75% chance to hit me, and Mr. Bighands is not the hardiest Half-Orc.

      The Halfling Warlock uses Spider Climb to scale a bit of the cliff, and then begins to lob down eldritch blasts. (Note: The Halfling is standing on the Chessex box at the edge of the map. Simple altitude representation.)

      We dispatch the rest of the raptors fairly easily, and finish combat with only minor scratches. These things went down pretty fast, and didn’t have a chance to get a good hit on any of us – I think we were all feeling a little cocky after this fight. We journey onwards…

Frog Temple, huh? This bodes well...

Frog Temple, huh? This bodes well…

…and approach a strange stone platform rising from the swamp. An immense statue of a fiendish looking frog sits in the middle.

      That’s it for Part 2 – in Part 3 we’ll discover what this place has in store for our adventurers. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “captors”.




Player Perspective: The Shady PC – Game Store Game 1 (Part 1)

      I may primarily run TTRPGs as the Game Master, but when I get the chance to play in a game, I jump on it. In this segment, Player Persective: The Shady PC, I share my experiences as a player at the game table.


      A few times a month, I play in a D&D 3.5 campaign hosted at a local game store. The game takes place in Eberron, and we are currently investigating some mysterious ruins deep in the swamps of the March Lands.

      The game is run by a veteran D&D DM, and it’s been interesting seeing 3.5 run by someone who learned to DM on the previous systems. I started with third edition, so I find his intermittent comments of “in 2nd edition it would have been this,” very interesting. I haven’t played in a D&D campaign for about 10 years, so playing in this game has been a lot of fun for me.

 Get on with it!

In this game I play a 5th level Half-Orc Druid named Rutkin Bighands.

Hey! Watch out with the fire!

I’m the guy who’s hands are bigger than his head.


      This game has been open to the public, so the DM created a bunch of characters for people to choose from. I started play as a Cleric, but last session I forgot my character sheet and chose someone new: meet Mr. Bighands.

      Just like his miniature, Mr. Bighands wears no armor. That leaves him with an AC 11. Yeehaw, baby! Now there’s a challenge! Right now I’m rocking a +1 Club, a Healing Belt, a couple potions of Mage Armor, and Bracers of Quick Strike.

      Our party consists of a Halfling Warlock, an Elven Ranger, a Warforged Fighter, and me, the Half-Orc Druid. Along for the ride we have our boat captain, we think he’s a Rogue.

      We recently discovered a previously unknown large patch of land deep in the swamp, and have been hired to go check it out.  It takes us a few days, but our party, lead by our hired boat captain, eventually reaches our destination. The entire landmass is surrounded by a huge rock wall, and we only know of two entrances. We can brave a river full of rapids, or we can attempt to climb down a perpendicular rock face. We elect to climb down the cliff, as braving the white waters leaves little chance to take our boat home.

We land on a rough dirt beach.

We land on a rough dirt beach.

      We notice a broken boat nearby, but there’s no sign of whomever brought it here. We make our way to the cliff, when we all hear a very loud buzzing from below. “Take cover by the boat!” yells Mr. Bighands.

More people between me and the monsters is fine by me.

My advice is ignored as the party prepares for combat.

We wait in anticipation as the buzzing gets louder. Eventually…

Thankfully not a dragon-fly


… a giant dragonfly appears from the cliff-face. “Hi, Mr. Dragonfly,” says Mr. Bighands. The dragonfly hovers for a bit before taking off across the swamp. None of our characters have ever seen a bug so big. Although it wasn’t hostile, I don’t think I’d want to mess with one.

(Note: As we were setting up to play, the DM had placed two nasty looking giant wasp figures on the table. “Oh boy, we’re gonna fight that?” commented one of the players. The DM quickly put them aside and said, “Who knows?”. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but when we heard that buzzing I fully expected two nasty wasps on their way. Shady GMing? Maybe! Either way it was great.)

      Crisis averted! We took a breath of relief and began to plan our rocky descent. The first matter of business: what do we tie our rope to?

 You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Bonanza dubbed in French-Canadian.

“Speakaing of rope; here’s a little known fact: Halfling hair, when woven correctly, has the tensile strength of mithral.”

      As you can see, we’ve got a rough patch of dirt, some shear rock walls, and low-growing grass to work with (I added Cliff). The cliff is a straight 100ft drop to some thick vegetation. The small rock outcroppings on the bottom left of the map are sharp, and we don’t want to risk our rope breaking. I ask the Warforged to start digging a hole as I grab some wood from the broken boat. A Wood Shape spell later and some heavy Warforged dirt packing, and we have a nice post to tie our rope around. Huzzah! We begin the decline.

      The Elf Ranger climbs down with no problem. The Halfling Warlock Spider Climbs his way down, making sure to chuckle at us non-Warlocks. Our captain makes it down without fail. Mr. Bighands makes it most of the way, and then falls, taking about 8 points of damage. I guess my hands got in the way. We’re all waiting for the Warforged to attempt his climb when we see the front of our boat begin to peer from the cliff-face, 100 feet in the air. This is when the captain started to mutter profanities.



      That’s it for Part 1 – in Part 2 we’ll find out if the Warforged survives his 100ft pleasure cruise and come face to face with vicious  aberrant dinosaurs! Stay tuned!

      Extra bonus: Here’s the map the DM had prepared for the river ride!

I feel like we would have taken some damage here...

I feel like we would have taken some damage here…