We were kicking off a fifth level adventure on OPnPW (a virtual table top written by a friend of mine). But as usual, when playing with people from multiple time zones.. three of the five players were going to be at least an hour late. So the DM decided to run an intro quest as a reward for the two of us who arrived on time (and early none the less). So we two each received mysterious letters (ooooooooo……….) to meet at an abandoned Temple of Sete Il’neth, the ancient pagan Goddess of death and ruination. The temple had long been plundered of all treasures, and the tales of the curses beset upon those tomb-raiders were more than enough to warrant a nice “Do Not Enter” sign to stand at its cavernous entrance.
Waiting there, I met up with the second player.. and we began to scheme. The two of us both Gnomish Illusionists none the less! Hint: The beauty of role-playing online is that private messages can be used to coordinate illusions to be cast without the party’s meta-gaming awareness.
The other Gnome and I both set our screen names to -AFK while we essentially ran the next thirty minutes of the game from behind the scenes, PMing the DM, describing the effects of our illusions. First, just as the first member of our party stepped foot within the Temple, the halls erupted with tortured scream, continually echoing in and out of existence.. then.. as the party was frozen stiff trying to figure out what to do next, from around the first bend in the entrance corridor came running a glowing figure — the outline of a humanoid form drawn by glowing white fire. Just as the second illusion was about to collide with the fighter, who was then preparing his defenses, it vanished. Dumb luck, that was.. Ghost Lights was the spell, and it just so happened that the spell’s range ended in the 5′ square directly in front of where the fighter was standing.
From between the fading echoes of the tortured screams came a demanding voice, damning the party’s existence should they not take heed its warnings and leave his sanctuary. At this, the fighter bellowed a challenge “I tire of your games, nether-being! Show yourself, and make ready your departure from this world!” (Gotta love DnD nerds and their too-well articulated quotes) Not wanting to frustrate the party further, we happily obliged and revealed the being conjured from our wicked imaginations. An Illithid Lich, so horribly decayed that his tentacles slid from between holes in the rotten flesh of his cheeks.
This all transpired over the course of several tens of minutes.. and the DM, now realizing he only had an hour left to run his session, decided to leave the rest of our prank up to chance.. He was truly enjoying making the party suffer as much as we were.. but he also had a game he wanted to run.. So he forced us to roll Will saves followed by Concentration checks, to contain the laughter that was trying so desperately to ruin our concentration. As luck would demand it, for the several spectacular rolls we’ve made thus far on bluff and concentration checks.. neither of us rolled higher than a five for either save or check. And without hesitation, we both simultaneously erupted with laughter as our illusions died, replaced by the maniacal cackling that could only belong to a pair of Gnomes.
Baffled at this, the party continued on cautiously.. until they found the two of us rolling around in the dust, clenching our guts as we were laughing so hard. And so the story ends with the party nearly being dissolved before it could slay its first Zombie.. The fighter was especially pissed and pounced me, intending to pommel me with the hilt of his sword until my face looked as the illusion I’d just conjured.. Of course, I was not going to accept this.. and pinning a Wizard to the ground can be a dangerous gamble.. After all, Illusionists don’t survive to fifth level without a few combat spells up their sleeves. One shocking grasp and a magic missile later.. and surprisingly the fighter had been reduced to less than a third his starting HP.
I can’t for the life of me remember what happened after that.. But needless to say.. I bloody love playing Illusionists!!!