Alturiak 16(?): …Cleansing, as he passed, the filth of the undead and the unnatural from the secret caverns and grottos of the shores…
Here’s a shout out to all wizards who are really, really stupid. Not the ones who are just a bit stupid, but the ones who simply have no capacity to think before they act. Here’s the situation: You’ve just climbed out of an underwater tunnel that’s now filled with sharks, cutting off your only retreat. You’re in a dead-end cave with assorted aquatic undeady things that you know damn well can paralyse everyone around you and a pirate captain who just might well be nowhere near as human as he seems. The only decent swordsman nearby literally has his plate-mail pants around his ankles (underwater cave, remember). He’s also the closest thing you’ve got to a cleric (y’know – for the undead turning thing and for the making you better after you’ve had your head ripped off and your brains eaten and so forth). You have one spell left and no, it’s not Dimension Door. The only thing going for you is that Captain Eats-Elves-Raw-For-Breakfast seems to want to talk a bit before he feasts on your vital organs. Do you:
a) Parlay and see if you can find grounds for co-operation or at least compromise and barter?
b) Engage in conversation while your comrades strategically position themselves, readying spells and items for maximum tactical effect.
c) Engage in conversation while your tank at least pulls up his pants.
d) Magic Missile the fucker and then think about what to do next afterwards.
If you answered d), then you are clearly meant to be adventuring as part of our thing-we-laughably-refer-to-as-a-team. If your answer is e), do what it says in d) only without the thinking bit, then congratulations, you are, in fact, Wizard Daftboy.
So there we have it. And this is how yours truly came to be sandwiched between a gang of aquatic ghouls and a ravening pirate psychopath who also turned out to be a wereshark.
Hang on a minute.
Now if I hadn’t been too busy making aquatic undead heads explode with my swanky new arrows of explody-goodness (What? So I’m the only person with magic arrows?) then I might have stopped to wonder about that. A wereshark.
That works. . . how, exactly? As far as I can tell, the creature that’s happily ripping my so-called friends to pieces has turned into what is basically a big man with a shark’s head. With gills on his neck. Not having any trouble breathing, I notice, although I think he has to keep running and he might suffocate if he stood still for too long. Certainly seems to have the whole blood frenzy thing going for him, judging by the state of Mr Pants-Still-Round-His-Ankles.
I’m about as far as wondering what happens if you take a wereshark into a desert, and whether there are fresh-water weresharks and salt-water weresharks by the time it became apparent that ordinary swords and sticks and absurdly shaped dwarven axes aren’t actually having much impact. And, because in a moment of bizarre charity I gave the only other magic sword we ever found to someone who turned out to be a murderous doppelganger (I hate you, Stalker), I’m the only person with an enchanted weapon.
Obviously there’s only one thing for it – lend it to someone else for a couple of minutes – but that’s starting to be a problem. Caleb Knight of Something is lying on the floor with his plate-mail pants still round his ankles, only now it’s in a big pool of his own blood. The Mad Monk’s more likely to cut himself than anyone else, Crazy Dwarf. . . Well, he’s crazy, and that leaves Wizard Daftboy, who’ll probably just wet himself, and the Halfgit, whose most likely course of action would be to bolt back to the town and sell it as fast as she possibly could.
So this is how I end up toe to toe with Captain Sharkface or whatever his name is. I’d like to say I fought him hard and I fought him well and in the end I sent him to hell. But what actually happened was that Shifty snuck round behind him and stabbed him in the neck lots with a silver dagger. Apparently that works too.
Afterwards, there’s only one thing left to say.
“So am I the only one who can do any healing magic?”