Let’s not equivocate here: in Episode 149, I, Matthew, was undeniably stupid.
A step towards specificity: during the battle with the frost giant/centaur/stallion creatures, Fairaza, cornered, wild-shaped into a warcat and proceeded to wreak some havoc. It was a lot of fun. You’d have liked it.
Here’s the issue: wild shape acts as the spell Beast Shape III (as Fairaza is 9th level). Beast Shape III (as opposed to its earlier iterations) allows you to change into a huge creature, and, if you do so, gives you +6 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, and a +6 natural armor bonus. I, well, didn’t do that.
Instead, in my excitement, I got really stupid. Flipping through animal options, I came upon the warcat’s stat block and then just, you know, referred to that stat block for all of my stats for the rest of the combat (instead of using the actual adjustments from Beast Shape).
No, but seriously: for shame.
I have no defense. None. And what’s worse, my stupidity had a serious impact on what happened. The AC I glibly quoted to Troy was, to put it mildly, inflated, so I would have taken more damage (and very possibly gone unconscious). My own attacks would not have been definite hits. Also, Beast Shape III only allows you to gain certain abilities—rend is most certainly not one of them.
Woof. Hugely stupid. Now, had I been thinking clearly, knowing all of this, I might not have elected to get up in the thick of things and chosen to wild-shape into something tiny or flying to get some distance so I could buff, debuff, or strike at range. Or I wouldn’t have attacked. But I just loved the story possibilities of Fairaza, who usually hangs back, electing upon the endowment of her new powers to STRIKE BACK.
Regardless, questions of whether or not Fairaza would have survived notwithstanding, my stupidity obviously did significantly overpower her and drastically reduce the difficulty of the encounter. So: irredeemably stupid.
For the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. As we all know, I’ve been stupid before. And ever since you all pointed out the blunder, I’ve been asking myself the following questions, over and over again.
- Am I in over my head?
- Am I ruining the credibility of the game with these mistakes?
- Should I just quit while I’m ahead [sic] and just play a fighter?
Here are the answers I’ve come up with:
- Let’s be honest here—you really think I wouldn’t find a way to screw up the rules as a fighter?
But one of the great gifts, for me, of playing with this particular group is that they let me fuck up. That’s incredibly generous, and I’m very grateful for it. Because I love playing casters. I love it. So much of the joy of this game for me is the creative problem solving. I mean, what’s better than that? And I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to run before I can crawl and hurl myself headlong into the possibilities of magical solutions to those problems. And the group collectively finds ways to keep my stupidity all within the bounds of the story. Even more: they make it part of the story.
Holy cow, is that awesome. Does it skew the mechanical balance of the game? Of course. But these guys are willing to let the scale slide to a degree in favor of story and fun. And I will tell you what you probably already know: there’s nothing better than coming up with a creative solution to a problem that impresses the veterans in the room. Nothing. (Imagine, if you will, receiving an approving nod from Skid Maher.)
But of course those solutions need to be within the rules. And I will endeavor to be less stupid. But I KNOW that I’ll eventually be plenty stupid again. So here’s my thanks to group for creating a room where the answer to the question “Am I ruining the credibility of the game?” can be “No.” And then for ruthlessly and relentlessly mocking me for my mistakes for (literally) years.
And also, of course, to you all, for continuing to listen through the thick haze of stupid. (And for keeping us honest.)
Also, Troy has asked me to include a note about his own stupidity: early on in the encounter, Troy made the audacious claim that you can’t charge in a surprise round. This, too, is nonsense. You can of course charge in a surprise round (as a standard action), but you can only move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). So really, in a way, my stupidity is totally moot. Because we all would have been very, very dead when the frost giant/centaur/stallion creatures killed us in the surprise round.
So here’s to stupidity.