Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tales from PnP: Damn Githyankis

Last night*, during our regularly scheduled "Guild Night" on Thelanis, the chat somehow managed to wander over into the topic of the astral plane of D&D lore and the mentioning of a few of the races that can be found there.  Once such race is the Githyanki.

Back in my PnP days, we had a player that actually "rolled-up" a Githyanki character.  Now, as far as I know, they were never meant to be a player-race, being found in the "Fiend Folio" and all, but the DM allowed it.

I hate party betrayals.  To me, D&D is supposed to be a game where a group of adventurers - regardless of alignment - come together to work as a team to solve whatever matters the quest/campaign throws at you.  Most of the time, we did not have any "evil" aligned characters.  But, as with most things, there were exceptions.  Some of our players like running evil-aligned characters, but even then they usually 'behaved' within and around the group.  Usually.

Now, I realize that some DMs like to tempt one or more party members to betray the others.  I mean, that can always be part of the story:  "Come to the dark side where riches await you.  All you need do is kill all of your compatriots."  But just because the DMs tempts, doesn't mean the player has to acquiesce.

So, this one time,  at band camp  when we had the aforementioned Githyanki PC in the party, and the DM's party character** was an assassin†, I pulled the first watch.  Now, prior to my watch commencing, I had specifically stated to the DM that I was keeping an eye - a very close eye - on two of our party's characters (can you guess which two)?  But despite that, one of them (pretty sure it was the DM's character) was still able to get close enough to poison me, knocking me unconscious, without me seeing or hearing anything out of the ordinary.  However, I was allowed to make some noise, which did end up waking the rest of the party.

Unfortunately, the PC who came over to see what had happened to me and to help me forgot one of the basic rules of adventuring††:  Never turn your back on an assassin.  So she was quickly poisoned and rendered unconscious as well.  This left a 2-on-2 battle with the Githyanki and assassin on one side and the remaining two party members on the other.  I honestly don't remember much of the fight.  What I do remember is sitting there, waiting for this long encounter/battle to conclude, and all the while fuming - I was pissed.  I mean, I realize the DM is going to do whatever the DM wants to do, but after explicitly stating "I'm watching" to be snuck‡-up on and poisoned without being allowed to make an observation roll is just wrong (well, obviously IMO it is).


I think, though I do not specifically recall, that our remaining party members were able to drive off the Githyanki and assassin.  And as best as I can remember, that pretty much ended that quest, too (I don't think we ever officially finished it; least fun quest ever).  After being treated/healed and inquiring "What happened?", my character made a vow:  If he ever - EVER - laid eyes on that Githyaki again, he'd kill him on sight.  Period.  End of Story.  No reprieve.  Dead.  (I went so far as to actually write it down on my character sheet.)

Technically, he never did.  I say "technically" because, wouldn't you know it, that same player pull out the same Githyanki character sheet in front of my character.  And as soon as he was 'accepted' into the party by the DM, I stated, "I draw my sword and attack." before even officially getting under way.  Unfortunately, the player stated - and the DM allowed him to -  that this was not the same character, but a different one (yeah, right) and played it that way.  I kept an extremely close eye on it and if it had so much as twitched the wrong way, I was going to kill it.  But it was a different quest, a different DM, and "that" Githyaki behaved himself.

Damn Githyakis.  I still should have killed it....

*  That being Friday, 8/19/16, in case you're reading this post sometime in the future.

** We did not have a 'designated' DM, per se.  Anyone could run a dungeon, if they wanted to.  Primarily, campaigns were run by the same DM, but if he got tired of DM'ing or someone else wanted to run an (often) unrelated "one-shot" quest (which still may have lasted several game sessions), we passed the DM mantle (so-to-speak).  So, it was not unheard of to have the same characters potentially running in different quests 'simultaneously' nor was it unusual for a DM to run one of his PCs as well.  But when they did, they received reduced XP and were for the most part treated as an NPC.

† While we all knew the character was in fact an "assassin", if asked, it was a "thief" since in 1st edition rules, the assassin was a thief sub-class.  And if I recall correctly, all assassins had to be of an evil alignment.

†† Do I even need to state which classic blunder is only slightly less well known than "never get involved in a land war in Asia"?

‡ Or is it "sneaked"?  The jury is out on this one...

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