View Full Version : (Good) Surprises players make

2011-08-02, 08:03 PM
All of a sudden, my players turned their collective gazes into a magic item from Complete Champion, the Book of All Knowledge. As I said to them, the book is more os less like perusing library, with the relevant information comingfrom many published sources. If it was written somehow, be a grimoire, holy text or epic poem, with the right Knowledge result you can find something, many times in a very random order and not all the content, but relevant bits to the question you're researching.

Suddenly they became enamorated by the item and made a know check each day religiously, and instead of just waiting for the artificer to finish their things and going to the city most of them has unfinished business (i's a sandboxy campaign), they decided to stay a few more days to finish researching a certain topic.

I know my players are good players, and they enjoy the story and roleplay aspects of the game much more than the adventure, balance and build aspects, but I really didn't expect that ALL of them would be so turned on by the prospect of having what is essentialy a Huge Liberary Lite with them. In fact, they are so turned on that are thinking about buying a Ring of Research (Waterdeep) with their (small) collective funds, so they could once per day after 2d4 hours make a single knowledge check with a +20 bonus.

I'm not even worried by game balance or plot, I'm just surprised. And it's a great, fun, good surprise.

So, I ask the playground: We all know about bad surprises, but did you ever had such good surprises by your players?

2011-08-03, 03:53 PM
the Book of All Knowledge - Google in book form !

2011-08-03, 04:06 PM
More like Wiki on a Kindle. It would be neat if while they were reading on some topic, the text was lined/blacked out and replaced by false information. It could happen several times and be a side-plot hook to track down this nefarious scribe attempting to change historical record.

2011-08-03, 11:04 PM
The trick is to turn any "Bad" surprise players throw at you into a good one. Crazy surprises is one of the primary appeals of TT RPGs. I was shocked and impressed when my players managed to destroy three warships with three bags of holding, a Water Breathing spell, and a Fly spell. It was amazing.

Lyra Reynolds
2011-08-04, 06:12 AM
The entire party scraping their meagre funds together to resurrect a beggar girl who had been trampled in a riot.

It surprised me because they barely KNEW the girl and lots of other people had died, too. But they felt really bad that she had died, so they arranged for a resurrection, then arranged for her to be taken in by the local Clerics for a home and an education. Eventually one of the PCs actually adopted her and now she's living with that PC and her husband!

2011-08-04, 08:30 AM
I once played a tinkerer and general wizardy wizard, he was an Exiled Modron named Fleck (CL9) who I spent 2 long months working on, and my DM made the comment "I can't play Fleck when he's not here, his character sheet is like an F-16 cockpit." and indeed it was:
My modron wizard was escorted by:
-Jyian the Brass Man, I managed to arrange him as a cohort with the undead cohort example from LM with levels in swordsage.
-Ronk the Junk Golem, you can roll dice and pull random objects out!
-Skuld the Clockroach, he travels by burrowing, follows my footsteps, and on command surfaces and melts unwanted obstacles.
-Shim the Spiderthief, a small land drone that can carry a small amount and climb wall and ceilings.
-Nox the Universal Key, a puddle of nanobots that can disassemble anything regardless of complexity within 6 seconds.
-Iz, Metal Expedious Messenger, homebrewed to be clockwork (was originally a flesh construct), flies at 200'/round and works as a radio at a distance of 1 mile.
-Paur (pronounced PWAUR') the Clockwork Mender and familiar.
Sortie, the Sorting Beast (Clockwork accountant and appraiser)

Now, Fleck as most modrons was ruled over by Primus, god of the realm of mechanus, fleck had lost his connection over time and decided to simply not return while sent on a Modron March, which is essentially a race-wide recon mission to gether information for Primus.
Because of his connection to the knowledge pool, which is described somewhat like Star Trek's Borg Collective he has ridiculous amounts of knowledge.
Now, this knowledge proficiency would normally be quite fitting, but I soon realized the impact of exploring the ramifications of having so many sentient beings at my disposal.
As you may know, Familiars gain equal ranks to skills as their creators, and even simple life forms can take guesses and opinions if they have some experiential knowledge with the specific matter.
This lead me to devising this system of extremely proficient data collection:

1) Iz and Paur fly up to a comfortable scanning distance of 150' in the air, this, along with their size and dex modifiers gives creatures at ground level a different of 40 at +0, essentially they are both invisible.

2) Iz and Paur do a full scan, and take 20 on spot, they then cross-reference their own data as Paur and Iz can speak to eachother, each roll assorted knowledge checks on what data they have gathered and separate their conclusions with their data respectively, Paur then uses Iz to talk with Fleck from a mile distance, Fleck then uses both data and conclusion and speaks to the party and Jyian, this results in 6 more checks to each relevant information, all data and opinions kept separate.

3) If a complex idea, such as an image, a melody, or any such thing needs to be represented Fleck uses simplistic spells like silent image and ghost sound to perfectly emulate them. If a map needs to be drawn an illusion is conjured of the topography.

4) If the aerial constructs (aka scout drones) are spotted they can outrun almost anything as they do not tire, Paur is likely to be the prime target as he moves at half the speed as Iz, but he can be re-summoned.

All in all, the party can collect data continuously at a range of 1 mile, and can make 4-8 knowledge checks for anything that might come up.

REGARDLESS, the amount of information we had only served to delight us more when surprises came up, as they did often!