Adventurer test c. 2004

And now, for something very, very old.

Well, something from 2004 or older actually. In a fuel of role-playing game haze I wrote an “Adventurer test” to my elder little brother; basically a set of questions, with the results for every possible choice given. A certain pattern in these is visible after a few.

The initial three questions are gone to the Great Land of Format C, but here are the others.

* * *

4. You get mixed in a delicate intrigue taking place at the kingdom’s capital. You happen to overhear a courtier talking about killing the king. What do you do?

  1. Draw your sword and mightily cleave the craven courtier in two.
  2. Hold your breath and follow the courtier discreetly.
  3. Straightaway run to the king and tell him all about the plot.
  4. Continue walking around the castle; kill and loot everyone you find.

Results:

  1. Well, the chambermaid that saw it all runs for help. The Palace Guard decides it’s easier to kill the murderers first and ask the questions later. Dung.
  2. You follow the courtier to a dank chamber in the basement. There you find the rest of the conspirators: A lich, a dragon, a beholder, and several dozen major skeletal undead. Add several reanimated skeletal adventurers to the list, please.
  3. The king is skeptical and has you thrown out of the city. A day later the king is assassinated, and the assassins are hired to harm the people that almost warned the king. Heck.
  4. All is well until the Palace Guard catches you. Contrary to the usual practice, they are very adept in killing people. You die.

* * *

5. Upon looting an ancient burial chamber, you happen upon a doorframe standing in the middle of a big room. It reads, in olden runes: “Doorway of Instant Humanoid Death”. What to do?

  1. Walk through it.
  2. Toss your companion through it.
  3. Toss your animal pet / familiar through it.
  4. Lure the pack of orcs tracking you through it.

Results:

  1. You die. Instantly.
  2. Your companion dies, instantly. Several days later a ghostly visitation causes you a fatal heart attack — a not quite so instant a death.
  3. Apparently the doorway was really designed only for humanoids. Upon trying to kill the pet / familiar, it creates a rip in the time-space continuum, instantaneously and totally destroying all within twenty miles. You included.
  4. The orcs, once suitably lured, walk through the doorway and all die. This gives the cyberdemon imprisoned within the doorway enough life-force to break free. It’s as things imprisoned for several millennia usually are — cranky and hungry. Bad for you.

* * *

6. The Darksome Monks of Midnight beseech you to retrieve the Pendant of the World’s Ending for them. What do you do?

  1. Get the Pendant, give it to the Monks.
  2. Get the Pendant, then hide it somewhere.
  3. Decline because the Monks have a bad reputation.
  4. Scream in terror and run away.

Results:

  1. The Monks activate the Pendant, and the world ends. Who would have believed the thing would actually work?
  2. Upon trying to find a suitable place to hide the thing in, you accidentally trigger it. The End of the World results. That’s what you get with not giving it to the experts.
  3. The Monks cackle and find out a second group of adventurers to do their will — your bitter rivals, actually. The Pendant doesn’t work, but the Monks still reward your rivals well enough for them to buy some dangerous magical gear to settle some grudges you have. The small continent you are on at the time vaporises.
  4. Well, whatever dangers there were, you avoided. Although your reputation suffered quite a bit, resulting in you being hanged for chicken thieving in a nearby village for retired archmagi several months later.

* * *

7. You happen to find a strange box the size of a human head. The flunky that is following you opens it, looks inside, and immediately goes terribly and irrevocably insane. What to do, what to do?

  1. Close the box, give it to the flunky, walk away.
  2. Look inside the box. What do you think we are, wussies?
  3. Pick up the box while absolutely not looking inside, and place it in your backpack.
  4. Burn the box and all of its contents.

Results:

  1. The next night you awaken into the sound of someone bending over you. When you open your eyes you see not the flunky but the box he’s holding, and inside — well, something that is so outright terrible that you die instantaneously.
  2. An old farmer pauses tilling his fields several miles away and wonders: “Now what was that terrible scream of unrivalled mortal agony, like a soul shrivelling facing the utmost terrors of the midnight, I just heard?” Or, at least, “Huh? Wassat?” Meanwhile, your friends are forced to kill you in self-defence.
  3. Valiantly you resist all urges to look inside the box for several days. While valiantly resisting you fail to see the dragon you pissed off earlier. Fatalities result.
  4. The contents burn with an eerie, greenish flame, and the smoke gathers into a giant form of — a form of — eyaagh! Everyone in the radius of twenty miles goes terribly and irrevocably insane.

* * *

8. While looting a temple, you happen to find a massive stone slab that reads “Here sleeps Masaker, the Great Old One, the Star-Creature, the Destroyer of Realms, the Bane of Immortals”. One of you foolishly tests the slab, managing to drop it to pin his foot between it and the floor. What to do?

  1. Leave the poor character to moan his fate and go on.
  2. Lift the slab enough to free the idiot.
  3. Hack off the character’s trapped leg, thus freeing him.
  4. Pray to Masaker to help you.

Results:

  1. Several weeks later you perish fighting the insane one-legged human avatar of Masaker, the Lord of Extremely Painful and Sure Vengeance.
  2. You lift the slab imprisoning Masaker, most malevolent of the ancient Fell Gods. When you notice the tentacles, it is already too late.
  3. You sever the leg, bandage the stump, and notice the blood offering has awakened Masaker the Unsightly, also known as the Walking Indiscriminate Death. Uh-oh.
  4. Dread Masaker, imprisoned for millennia, awakens to heed your prayers! Unable to comprehend your crude form of communication, Masaker delivers his standard answer: a flood of carnivorous maggots. The rest is gross.

* * *

9. While traipsing around in the vaults, you encounter a slavering minotaur warrior that snorts and intones: ‘Thou shalt not pass.’ What to do?

  1. Hope the minotaur is but an illusion, and walk through it.
  2. Snarl an answer in the minotaur language, explaining that you are authorised to pass.
  3. Engage the minotaur in a riddle contest.
  4. Kill the insolent creature.

Results:

  1. Well, who could have guessed? The minotaur was but a clever illusion! Unfortunately, it was an illusion embedded with the rare magical Ward of Instantly Decaying Flesh. Icky.
  2. It seems your minotaurish is a bit rusty, because the minotaur snarls back in anger: “Bah! You dare to insult my ancestors, you craven piece of wormflesh? I shall cleave thine foul skull in two!” Things go downhill from there.
  3. The minotaur agrees: You win and you pass, you lose and you die. And then he asks. “What is green, smells like a bhah’snarr and is like a bhu’lu, but a little more thuug?” Damned minotaurs! (The answer is: A gloppo snu’uurd.)
  4. While busily dismembering the minotaur you fail to notice the other sentry, which runs back to the war horde and alerts the centurion of your presence. Ah, as a note: There are no words in the minotaur language for either “surrender” or “mercy”, but thirty-two for “ritual desecration of the bodies of fallen enemies”.

(Note: The first option, sans the ward, actually came up in an adventure I ran years ago. The adventurers being very low-level it caused quite some panic; but I’ve forgotten the details.)

* * *

10. After spending several happy hours in a tavern you suddenly notice your purse — containing all of your money — has disappeared. The barkeep appears and asks whether you want to pay or to order something more. Oh, can this riddle be solved?

  1. Jump up, cry: “Alas! Some craven guttersnipe hath stolen my money! Into chase!” and run out.
  2. Ask the barkeep for credit.
  3. Try to sneak out without paying.
  4. Order more drinks; keep drinking until you drop.

Results:

  1. The barkeep, not being an unreasonable man, gives you ten seconds to run before he asks his brother, the local archmagus, to find and kill you in the most painful way possible. (The way, strangely enough, involves both Masaker and minotaurs.)
  2. The barkeep laughs diabolically and (with the help of his massive bouncers) sells you to the Malevolent Midnight Torturers of Eeh to cover his expenses.
  3. The bouncers, known as Sadistic Sam and Violent Valdemar, notice. Later, the barkeep sells the local Guild of Cannibals some meatloaf.
  4. Well, it ends with the barkeep’s cousin, the local Judge of the Peace, hanging you the next morning, but luckily you are too hung-over to notice.

* * *

11. One day, when tending the campfire, you hear a strange sound from the river where your companion, a beautiful elven priestess, is bathing. What to do?

  1. Grab your sword and rush to rescue.
  2. Wait. Probably it was nothing.
  3. Cackle evilly, strip, and go bathing.
  4. Sneak to look.

Results:

  1. Apparently she only dropped her soap. However, the elvish laws say that only relatives, husbands and eunuchs may see an elven woman naked. You aren’t related and she’s already married.
  2. Several minutes later a nude elf-woman marches to the campfire, tosses a score of orc-heads to it and proceeds to cut some of your body parts off while ranting about your cowardly unwillingness to rescue a maiden in distress.
  3. Well, who could have guessed that the cute little elf would actually be a Tentacled Devouring Beast in disguise? Not you, certainly.
  4. Elves have very sharp senses. A deftly-thrown rock cracks your skull, causing fatal injuries.

* * *

12. After a vicious fight with the Bent Monks of Nyah, you are the only one alive in the ceremonial hall, bleeding, waiting for more enemies and severed of a finger. What to do?

  1. Take up your cut-off finger and toss it into a brazier, muttering a prayer.
  2. Disguise yourself as a monk and try to find the temple treasury.
  3. Destroy the vile idol of a giant frog the monks worshipped.
  4. Laugh loudly, spit at the monks’ dark frog-idol, and prepare for a glorious death.

Results:

  1. The frog-god of the monks hears you! You are gifted with the comeliness and charm of a frog.
  2. You don’t find the treasury but you find the cafeteria. Forced to eat something or risk appearing very suspicious, you quickly pick up an uncooked frog and gobble up the poisonous piece each real monk knows to not eat.
  3. You topple the idol, which shatters into a thousand pieces. Suddenly, each piece transforms into a crazed, sharp-toothed poisonous giant frog. Did I mention they’re crazed? Really, really crazed.
  4. The wrath of Nyah, the Dangerously Mirthful, strikes you! The mystified monks rushing inside find only dead monks and a living, angry frog.

* * *

13. While exploring the sewers of a great city, you get lost. Soon after you are ambushed and imprisoned by a pack of septic rat-men. They want to know if you are spies of the Sewer-Abominations. You’ve never even heard of them. Well?

  1. “No! No! Never even heard of them.”
  2. “No, no no no! In fact, I do adore Rat-Men! You are so furry and… and so furry!”
  3. “No! And let me prove it — the next time you go to fight the Abominations, take me with you!”
  4. “Well, yes. So what?”

Results:

  1. They Rat-Men find it impossible to believe someone wouldn’t ever have heard about the Abominations and thus deduce you are lying and, thus, spies. They feed you to the alligators.
  2. The Rat-Men are delighted to hear this. Their leader marries you to his lovely, long-tailed daughter.
  3. There apparently are Things only rats can see and stay sane. At least your screams echo quite splendidly in the tunnels.
  4. The Rat-Men flee and unleash their pet alligator on you. Their pet 30-foot mutant alligator. Which has 30 feet, too.

* * *

14. While camping on the roadside on your way back to the city, having recovered the Duke’s stolen champion racehorse, you notice a dark cave nearby, with steep steps leading down into darkness. What should you do?

  1. Go and explore the cave.
  2. Ignore the cave.
  3. Go to explore the cave and take the horse with you.
  4. Sacrifice the horse to the Dark Gods and ask their advice.

Results:

  1. The steps lead into an empty, filthy cave totally devoid of all treasures and sources of excitement. Upon returning back to the surface you find the denizens of the cave — a pack of orcs — roasting the Duke’s horse on open fire.
  2. At midnight the denizens of the cave — a pack of orcs — attack you. The only casualty on your side is the horse. Several minutes later the Duke, having heard of your success in recovering his beloved mount, rides to the camp.
  3. The horse, strangely enough, placidly walks down the narrow, steep steps. After several hundred paces the steps end. Dead-end. And too narrow to turn the horse around. The horse, naturally, is too stubborn to walk backwards.
  4. The denizens of the cave — a pack of orcs — smell the blood, attack and kill you, and eat the horse. The Dark Ones are a fickle and malevolent lot, and they don’t like horses.

* * *

15. The mayor of the village accidentally drinks your Potion of Mind Control while visiting you. What to do?

  1. Suggest the mayor he should give you all the money in the village treasury.
  2. Suggest the mayor he should go walk naked down the main street.
  3. Cackle diabolically and tell the mayor to make you the mayor instead.
  4. Quickly find a cure and give it to the man.

Results:

  1. The village goes bankrupt because of a) the strain caused by a couple of adventurers robbing their gold, and b) the additional strain of selling firstborn to hire a mercenary skeletal arch-war-mage were-dragon to find and flay alive the adventurers.
  2. Several hours later the potion wears off and the mayor regains his senses. It happens he is a member of the Guild of Retired Archmagi. He’s angry.
  3. The mayor grins and gives you the mayoral necklace of office. It feels deathly cold! Suddenly, you are cursed to stay at the village and judge cases of disputed piglets for ever — or until you find a willing replacement, which is quite the same.
  4. The mayor is cured and horrified that you should possess such terrible instruments of trickery. To avoid a mob of pitchforks and torches at your door you have to burn all of your possessions, clothes and weapons in a big, merry bonfire. Afterwards, there is beer.

* * *

16. A kind old man gives you shelter for a night in his small, two-room hut but asks you to not, under any circumstances, open the door between the rooms once he has retired into his. At midnight, you hear snarling and growling from behind his door. What to do?

  1. Open the door and look what is making the racket.
  2. Scream and run away.
  3. Swear loudly and continue sleeping.
  4. Giggle, set the house on fire, and go outside to watch.

Results:

  1. Something hairy, long-toothed and furious at being disturbed leaps at you and tears out your throat.
  2. Strangely, there is a pack of wolves in the woods around the hut. They feast on manflesh tonight! (evil laughter)
  3. In the morning you awaken to the noise of a pitchfork-wielding mob surrounding the hut. They’re apparently out to lynch “the werewolves”.
  4. Something howling and yelping escapes from the wreckage, too quick to be pursued. As the embers fade you realise you’re in a dark, brooding forest, alone. Then a wolf howls. Then another. And another. Werewolves can be really nasty when angered.

* * *

17. You are approaching a small village when a crazed man gallops to you from the opposite direction — an uncharted wilderness — screams something at you, and then drops dead of exhaustion. He is clad in rags and covered by insect bites. The thing he happened to scream was something like: “Bugs! Bugs! Invasion — countless — millions — masses — bugs — writhing — horde — bugs — terrible — flee — flee — argh — argh gargle whimper!” What to do?

  1. Go to the village open and begin to loudly proclaim the villagers have to escape immediately.
  2. Go to the wilderness following the lunatic’s tracks.
  3. Run past the village and keep running. For a long time.
  4. Go to the village, buy all Magical Insect Repellent Liquid and Bug-Death Charms you can find, and wait.

Results:

  1. The villagers look at you. Then they look at you some more. Finally, the cranky ex-adventurer sheriff walks to you, whips out a Crossbow of Instant Multiple Slayings, and herds you to the jail because of disturbing the peace. A day later a horde of mutant bugs devours the village, the sheriff, and you, too.
  2. In the wilderness an army of crazed demon-bugs finds you. And no matter how many you kill, they just keep on coming. The best part of the whole deal is that they will devour you bones and all, so you don’t have to worry about your remains going unburied. Life is like a vacuum, boy. And then you die.
  3. Several weeks later you are on the receiving end of the following tirade: “Foolish, impertinent mortals! I shall let you continue your meaningless existence on one condition only: if thee can now, in this instant, produce me a specimen of the rare invasion mass bug!”
  4. Several days later a group of jaunty adventurers marches to the village, telling of the mass of bugs they managed to exterminate in the forest, winning great spoils. A couple of rogues are flogged, chased out of the village and stripped of their valuables for buying all of the town’s insect repellent on credit. Life is a bugger, isn’t it?

* * *

18. You are deep in the dungeon, miles away from the closest exit. Suddenly, your torch goes out. A quick conference with your fellow team-mates confirms it: You have nothing left to light your way. Not even fire-making equipment. Even the mage can’t remember anything light-bringing beside a lone fireball.

  1. Tell the mage to light one of your fellow adventurers with a fireball. Follow the human torch.
  2. Scream.
  3. Gently whimper and try to backtrack your route to the surface.
  4. Call for help.

Results:

  1. After a few hundred paces your torch is quite burned out. And that was the mage’s last fireball. And the others are quite angry. Uh-oh.
  2. New red paint for the Room of Monstrously Multiplying Screams.
  3. “Ugh. Guys, you really smell like minotaurs.” — “That’s not me. I bathe.” — “Not me either. Elves don’t smell.” — And then a monstrous voice snarls: “What is green, smells like a bhah’snarr and is like a bhu’lu, but a little more thuug?”
  4. Call for help? In the Dungeon of the Ravenous Undead? Okay. At least you don’t have to lose your sanity seeing the Thing that devours you.

* * *

One final thing — the supreme good of pen-and-paper and the main problem with computer RPGs is that, as far as I know, you can’t do totally unpredictably insane things in the latter. (For examples see this old post.) The main draw for me of RPGs is the potential for mayhem and unpredictable fun, not the rote killing-looting-leveling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s