I was reading a RPG-themed post on Facebook asking about "epic" skill check failures. Now some games, or maybe just some GMs, don't allow you to completely screw the pooch, but I remember 4th Edition HackMaster sure did. Heck, you could fail so bad when trying a skill untrained that you could never....every, learn that skill because the earlier failure was so traumatic.
Now this isn't a HackMaster story, but a D&D 3.5 story. I didn't play too much 3.5, but this edition saw the beginning of my "infamous" PC that started out as an inside joke about what would happen when two gamers had a kid and treated him like a PC. The mythical tyke's name was BALADAR and he would refer to himself in the 3rd person. BALADAR wants a juice-box! BALADAR wants his blankie! Yes, BALADAR is always fully capitalized....just like on his birth certificate.
After a game session of laughing and having a fun running commentary about this poor mythical kid I had to create my next PC in honor of the joke, but I went with the subtly different "Baladar". He was a 1st level cleric and we were off to our first adventure, once we could overcome the usual DM dickery. Our DM wanted out first obstacle to be actually getting to the adventure location, which was on the other side of this desert. The quickest and easiest way was to get hired on as caravan guards, but the caravans were already full up when our Sorcerer went to make arrangements with the caravan matron, an older woman of "generous" proportions and appetites, according to the DM. Think a female version of Jabba the Hut, but not worm-like. Evidently she was more than willing to hire on a few more guards if the Sorcerer was willing to "satisfy her". Yes, this is the part where I'm to go
Well neither the player or the PC was willing to partake in the means to an end and instead offered up my PC to do the deed. Now I'm trying to think quick on my feet and see something to my advantage so I agree to it. The DM smiles like he's going to roll 3d20 to see how many STDs I get and I just point out that I had prayed for the "Command" spell today. "No problem," I state triumphantly......"I got this." My PC casts the spell and commands the caravan matron to "orgasm".
Now at this point I'm pretty smug with myself and the DM lets me have my 10 seconds in the sun before "politely" pointing out that we are playing D&D 3.5 and not AD&D or even HackMaster. Evidently what used to be a pretty multi-purpose spell was "nerfed" to one of something like 4 command words that could be used. Instead of choosing any one word the recipient had to unfailing try to act upon, I had t pick one of the four. I think I remember him managing a "nice try" as he laughed in my face.
So Baladar figuratively had to take one for the team. It was no surprise to me that in our first combat my dice turned on me an Baladar died a quick and painful death. It wasn't a curse or twist of fate....it was a blessing for that PC because he didn't have too long to live with his shame.
Needless to say, I'm a little more careful about spell selection when I play...especially if it is a new system. I'll just stick with archers until I get the spell mechanics worked out, thank you very much.
$5 Says DM Rob still thinks about that and laughs.....that bastard.