Some Horrible Things That Have Happened to Me
by Richard Aronson

So you think being a DM is easy? The problem with being a DM is that the players somehow or another come up with an idea, usage, or solution that was not anticipated. For example:

The party has foolishly begun breaking through the barrier that obviously guards a large and powerful demon. Much to their surprise, said large and powerful demon begins breaking through the barrier from the other side. Frantically, the Clerics begin exorcism, the Fighters throw rocks into the opening, and the Thieves run away. Just when you think that the demon is sure to escape before the exorcism can take effect, the Magic User cries out, "I'm casting a spell! I am reversing the spell Enlarge, and shrinking the hole." What's a poor demon to do?

Then again, there was the time that a vindictive player, owning a sword which had the x-ray vision capability, overloaded a Kobold with roentgens. He then sent the cancerous Kobold back to the Kobold King, hopefully to breed a race of mutant Kobolds.

Then there was the impetuous Hobbit, Loc Pique (not in the book of 1000 Hobbit names). Recognizing that the party stood little chance of finding the Old King's Castle without some assistance, I modified a die roll and had a pair of cautious, but intelligent, and potentially friendly Giant Owls discover the party one evening. Deciding the party was basically friendly (the presence of a Half-Elf had much to do with that), they flew away in search of a raven to translate for them. Seeing a target was all the excuse the Hobbit needed -- and in the twilight, his keen Hobbit vision could not quite perceive that the birds were flying away (or so he claimed -- the Dungeon Master's statement that "the birds are flying away from you" notwithstanding (notwitstanding?)). Deadeye Pique drew a bead on the male owl, got a critical hit with his light crossbow, and did it 18 points of damage. The owl swerved in midair and decided that a good offense was the best defense. The Hobbit, all four hit points of him, dove for the nearest tree, and it was only through great luck that the party did not all die. [Not to mention skillful negotiation -- ed. (no, the editor is not Loc Pique, incidentally)] The cute female magician with the fluttering eyelashes had nothing to do with any die roll modifications that may have occurred.

(Originally appeared in The Spell Book, Vol. I, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1981, p. 5; Corey S. Cole, editor.)

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