Baxil (baxil) wrote,
Baxil
baxil

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Epic Gaming Tales: The 2-CHA Motivational Speaker

(And now for something completely different.)

For all the fun I've been having with my Fireborn game, those aren't the only dragons in my gaming life.

My friend {m} is running a D&D 3.5e campaign in a world with an uneasy balance between magic and technology. The campaign is broken in all sorts of ways*, but we're having vast amounts of fun. As just one example, my PC, Sascha the White, is a silver-dragon airship engineer.

She started out as a socially inept monk, and discovered her true calling when we visited a city devoted to technological discovery. She still regularly runs around and punches things - it comes with the adventuring job - but her happiest moments have come from the simple joy of bending engines to her will.

Part of this is her uneasy relationships with people. When you start out with a Charisma of 2** (on a 3-18+ scale), that's sort of inevitable. Machines, she can understand. Humanity, not so much.

I decided early on that a charisma that low could only be explained by radical honesty, meant well but executed horribly. This is why, when the party first picked her up, her monastery had not-so-gently requested that she take a pilgrimage across the continent before ever setting foot in the place again. There were also a number of shenanigans during play involving uncomfortable truths and awkward social encounters. And this is even before we get into the latent psychic powers that caused people to inexplicably and unwantedly fall in love with her ... but I digress.

So Sascha is passionate about machines. And, inevitably, our party finds an excuse to fund and construct an airship. It's a jerry-rigged flying deathtrap - a sailing-ship hull precariously hanging underneath a million cubic feet of hydrogen gas - but it's ours, and it's a major leap forward in technological capability for the town we're in, and dammit, it's an airship, and that's coolness you can't beat with a stick.

The day of that gaming session, it occurs to me: This is a momentous thing. Plans begin to form in my mind. It's a campaign turning point, and it's got incredible personal meaning for Sascha. This is a golden opportunity for roleplaying.

So I decide to mark the occasion by having Sascha give a stirring, heartwarming speech to the crew. And I figure I'll ham it up.

Before leaving for game, I root through my attic for a few minutes, coming up with a white shirt, leather duster, an aviator's cap****, a wrench, a strap resembling a bandolier, and some goggles. Alright, I think. Vaguely airship mechanic-ey. It's not really Sascha, but it's thematic. I guess I can make this work.

When I arrive at {m}'s, I bag them up and sneak them into his front bathroom while everyone is settling in at the gaming table. I tell no-one of my plans, and since the table's around the corner from the front door, nobody sees me.

 
And then Fate steps in.
 

Shortly after the start of game, as I am narrating some of Sascha's last-minute airship work, {a} turns to me and says: "You know, before we leave town, you should totally get Sascha looking the part of the mechanic."

"Really?" I reply, trying to sound nonchalant. "What are you thinking?"

"Well, like, some goggles, and one of those old-style hair caps that pilots used to wear, and a cool leather jacket ... and something to hold all her wrenches in, a bandolier or something ..."

Somehow I manage to keep a straight face. He hasn't left the table since I arrived. I KNOW he has no clue about my impromptu plans. And yet he rattles off EVERY ONE of my props, down to the freaking AVIATOR'S CAP.

If I, Baxil, am somebody's PC, this is what it looks like when my player crits a Luck check.

"You know, that would be pretty cool," I say. "Hey {m}, all that stuff's available in town, right? How much would it cost?"

We barter a little and I spend about 4 GP. I write down on my character sheet, repeating out loud to make sure everyone hears: "Goggles, aviator's hat, leather jacket, bandolier, good-quality wrench."

Final in-game preparations are made for the airship launch. "Alright, guys," {m} says. "Give me some rolls and let's see how she flies."

"Before we do," I say, "I really need to go to the bathroom. Can you hang on a minute?"

I get changed. I cue up Leftovers from the Dreams of the Strong at 0:54, pause it, and crank my iPhone up to maximum volume.

Then Sascha strides around the corner to the gaming table, amid stirring airship-launching music.

The room collectively falls off its chair.

 
 
Once everyone recovers long enough to breathe, this rousing morale booster comes from the lips of the character who is almost literally the least qualified person in the world to give a motivational speech:



I suspect that the only thing that prevented immediate mutiny was the fact that most of our crew was Charmed.

--
* The worst offender being our STR-58 Goliath barbarian. (When all his bonuses are applied. But still. The freakin' Tarrasque is only 46.)
** For the nitpickers: "But how does a character even get a Charisma of 2," you ask, "much less a silver dragon, who has a ridiculous racial Charisma bonus?" You see, Sascha started life as a frostblood half-orc*** - the race has a two-point CHA penalty - and later got infected with a magical disease that slowly started turning her into a dragon. At the start of the campaign, I rolled a 4 for Charisma, with the GM looking over my shoulder.
*** Hence "the White."
**** I really can't explain why I own an aviator's cap. The one you see in the video was inherited at some point from my dad - maybe it's a family heirloom? It's made of sturdy cloth and looks Depression-era to my untrained eye.
Tags: multimedia, roleplaying, tales from the table
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