When thinking about this latest entry I was originally planning on talking about some of my favorite role-playing moments from around the table over the years. However there is one story from gaming in front of the computer one evening that I always get a kick out of sharing. A lot of my friends are familiar with this story, which I’ll break down into two parts. I’ll post Part 2 later on this week.
[Disclaimer- The screenshots that you are about to see are from me restaging the events that took place using NWN’s toolset, seeing as we were too busy fleeing for our lives to worry about taking screen shots at the time!]
I’m a big fan of Neverwinter Nights, and this tale is from around the time that I was really starting to get into it. I had been going through a lot of single player modules until my buddy G (another avid player) recommended that I take a look at some of the online multiplayer modules that the two of us could co-op on. We eventually found an interesting looking server that promised lots of hack-and-slash, and after a quick character creation we were in.
[Oddly enough my character shares my daughter’s name, though she did predate her by a few years! –Mani]
I’ll just preface this by saying the planning committee for this town put it in the worst spot ever. Who in their right mind builds a town right between a crypt, a haunted forest, ruins, and God-knows-what-else? If this place sank into the swamp multiple times I wouldn’t have been surprised. Location-woes aside though, it was a great spot for adventurers and was pretty active to boot; there were quite a few other players on the server as well for us to interact with. Cool.
The module was exactly what we were looking for; pure hack-and-slash and loot collection. Hey, sometimes you just want to slay nameless hordes of enemies with ruthless aggression and reckless abandon. The newbie area of the module was the afore-mentioned crypt, infested with goblins. Rock, Lily and a few other random players wandering about proceeded to enter the crypt and murder the ever-loving hell out of whatever was lurking about. Much loot was collected. Life was good.
After kicking the crap out of every goblin to ever live, our duo returned topside to the Town Built in the Worst Place Ever. There, we proceeded to sell off the massive amounts of excess loot we had acquired thus far as well as purchase some new weapons and swag to aid in our monster-slaying ways. G had a head start on me; I had leveled up at the end of our dungeon crawl, so I needed to take a few moments to spread out my points. He was almost already done by the time I had made my way over to the item shop to sell off my own plunder, and he lets me know that he wants to meet me at the arena in town when I was done.
Even at that point in our friendship, I had known G for many years and knew that his characters were usually ungodly tanks that were typically able to smite enemies rather easily. Not wanting to be bested I made sure that I loaded up some new armor, another bow, some more arrows and enough potions to choke a Tarrasque. I geared up and headed over to the arena, ready to meet Rock in the field of combat.
Or so I thought.
Apparently this arena was different from ones I was used to because it looked like it summoned creatures that you could fight against as a team. And it looked as if Rock had gotten the party started as he was being pursued by a creature that I didn’t immediately recognize. A quick hover and right-click later, I met our new friend the Flesh Golem.
An overpowering foe for a single hero perhaps. But there were two of us, and we had just finished committing medieval hate crimes against goblins in the crypt below this freaky town. The path to victory was clear; Rock would distract the creature while Lily, Ranger Extraordinaire, would pelt it with a barrage of arrows in order to weaken it. It was a brilliant strategy I thought as Lily loaded an arrow and let it fly at the offending beast. And as to be expected, the arrow struck true.
And did absolutely no damage whatsoever.
This was my first indication that something was very wrong. My next indication came when I hovered over Rock and saw that his health bar was RED. I had personally witnessed him wade into hordes of enemies earlier in the evening and emerge with nary a scratch. And now here he is, facing a single creature, and he’s already in the red? It then dawned on me that Rock wasn’t trying to distract the creature; he was fleeing for his life!
I also think it bears mentioning that Lily and Rock were merely at levels 4 and 5 respectively at this point. I think that’s an important component to the story.
To this day I don’t know how he did this while running, but G has the presence of mind to type a message as he’s doing laps to avoid this thing.
At that very moment Lily is mid-animation for letting another arrow fly. It strikes the Flesh Golem and again does no damage. But I now have this creature’s complete and undivided attention, which then turns and swings at me like I owed him money.
He takes me out with a single hit.
Thankfully the arena allowed characters to respawn without a penalty. So I respawned, took G’s advice, and promptly began hauling ass towards the door. G was still (barely) alive by the time he made it there, and I was a step or two behind him. We ran through and found ourselves teleported back into the town a little worse for wear, but still alive.
As we’re standing outside of the arena gathering our thoughts, we realize to our collective horrors that the Flesh Golem had just followed us into this fully-inhabited town. No words were spoken, but G and I knew exactly what needed to be done.
And run we did, right into town, and followed closely by a murderous abomination before the eyes of both God and science. This was not going to end well…
[End Part 1]