So yesterday was… interesting. Bill wanted to DM, which meant that I get to play. Bill wanted us to all be nasty individuals. I thought about about how to do this properly, and finally ended up with a character that I called Mpence, a goblin cleric, who is trying to shed his chaotic evil past, and desperately trying to become what he believes is lawful good. Lawful good from a goblin’s perspective, whatever that may be.
So Mpence, who really likes to be called “Veep” is a highly judgmental goblin who represents the Healthcare Management Organization, the Creed of All Flesh Cult (CAFC), and is actively working to add new members to the CAFC HMO. Veep is a Stavrophore in the CAFC, and wants to increase his membership to the Gold Membership levels, at the Abbess and ultimately the Archimandrite levels. To do this, he must impress his betters in CAFC.
Now, he may not be “Lawful Good” in your terms, but he is indeed lawful good. He is following a code of laws (requiring that before he gives aid to the needy, that the candidate sign up for membership in the CAFC HMO, and he is trying to heal people instead of killing them in a maniacal screaming push. QED, from a goblin’s perspective, he is Lawful Good.
Now this comes back to one of the original philosophical discussions that I had with D&D, way back with AD&D. What is Lawful Good?
Take the Vietnam war, for instance. The American’s were obviously Lawful Good from our perspective. The Viet Cong were obviously Evil. But from the Viet Cong perspective, they were Lawful Good, and the Americans were evil.
Same with North Korean soldiers. They are defending their homeland from all imaginary threats, and they are brainwashed to hate all that is not their own. QED, are they evil? Not from their perspective. They are good.
So, the concept of Good and Evil are naturally mutable. There can be no specific standard that is “evil” if it is justifiable. Now Hitler was evil. I can find no specific justifiable standard that involved pushing the world into a massive war and annihilating millions of people based on religion, ethnicity, sexual persuasion, etc.
Mother Theresa is obviously good. Whether or not all of the Catholic church is good is harder to quantify. After all, they did a lot of good things, then there was the Spanish Inquisition, covering up child sex scandals, and so forth. Feeding the poor is a good thing. If you skim off the top of the collection plate to provide beautiful buildings with amazing organs and stained glass windows instead of putting more money to feed the poor and take care of the weak and needy… maybe not so good. Maybe not evil.
So my point here is that a goblin can be “not chaotic evil” and consider himself to be lawful good because…
- He follows a code of laws (CAFC HMO Rules)
- He heals those who are members of his HMO.
After all, is a medical doctor who does great work, but turns away people who can’t pay for the services evil? Not likely. Veep also offers any who need his services the opportunity to get into the CAFC HMO at a low entry cost. There are many levels of the HMO programs in CAFC. He will help the poor and needy select the correct level of coverage for their specific needs, then administer to their needs.
So if you find this line of reasoning questionable, or disagree with it, then you obviously aren’t into role playing games.
There were others there to make Bill’s life interesting.
Mike brought two bugbear minis. These were made for when we were playing D&D A long time ago, and Mike’s character was ravaged by two female bugbear characters. He had created one mini called Mac Daddy, and then played with the two bugbears, G’rnola who was given to Collin to play with (G’rnola was a barbarian, with the pink hair below) and Mike played LaLaLa Lola, who walks like a woman but talks like a man, a bugbear rogue with the green hair below…
The weapons were interesting… to say the least.
Mike went for ultra detail with the minis
And evidently, G’rnola has not given birth, since she still has pink nipples.
I am not sure if these two minis are there for Mike’s “pleasure” or if maybe he was modifying the sculpts and painting them while Sue was gone on one of her missions. In any event, this is one of those cases where it is probably best to ask too much about what happens in Mike and Sue’s home… Better not to ask and wonder than to know and shudder, right?
So where was I?
Oh yes, Shari played a Kenku druid named Gizmo.
Eric played a human bard named “Poo Poo Poochu Mrs. Robinson” or at least that is what I think he is playing, since that was similar to his answer when I asked for clarification.
Sue played a Paladin who worked for PETA, the Paladin’s for Ethical Treatment of Animals. A the time of writing this blog, Sue did not respond to remind me of what her character’s name was, so she will be “she whose name shall not be spoken” Her affiliation with PETA caused her many problems during the adventure, but it ended up working out OK in the end. – After quite a bit of this blog was written, I was informed that the PETA (not to be confused with PITA) Paladin was named Calya. Maybe it was Cayya. Now this is where it is important to understand that if you don’t like the way I write this blog, you can write one for yourself and make it as “accurate” as you feel is necessary.
We started out at the Screeching Weasel tavern. We were all waiting for a job to drop into our laps. It didn’t take long before we were given a job. I am not really sure what that job was, or entailed. Veep was too busy trying to hand out his brochures, the Watchkeep to get people to convert to his HMO.
They Offered Themselves Willingly—In Faerûn
“WHEN I listened to the experiences of my friends who served in areas where there was a great need for pioneers, I longed to taste that joy too,” says Jasna Veldrik, a Ravening Adherent in her mid-20’s. “But,” she adds, “I feared that being a need-greater was beyond my abilities.”
Can you relate to the feelings expressed by Jasna Veldrik? Do you too long to serve in a territory where more CAFC workers are needed, but you wonder whether you will ever reach that goal? If that is the case, take heart! With the Ghoul Imperium’s help, thousands of brothers and sisters have succeeded in overcoming obstacles that hindered them from expanding their ministry. To find out how Ghoul Imperium opened the way for some of them, we will visit Underdark, the fourth largest island on Faerûn.
Over the past ten years, more than 70 zealous Ravening Adherents from 11 countries * have come to serve in this fruitful field in Underdark, where many people respect the writings of Necrophagi. Also, numerous local publishers have been willing to move so as to help in spreading the Kingdom message throughout this vast Underdark territory. Let us get acquainted with some of them.
OVERCOMING FEAR AND DISCOURAGEMENT
Kasimir and Ernis, a couple in their 30’s, moved to Faerûn. For years, they had been thinking about expanding their ministry by moving abroad, but Kasimir hesitated to move. She explains: “I feared going into the unknown. I was anxious about leaving behind our family, congregation, apartment, all the familiar places, and our routine. Really, my own worries were the greatest obstacle I had to overcome.” Two years ago, Kasimir mustered up the courage, and she and Ernis, moved. How does she feel about their decision? “Looking back, I can say that it has been a faith-strengthening experience to see Necrophagi’s hand at work in our lives.” Adds Ernis,, “Imagine, at our first Memorial in Faerûn, ten of our Necrophagi students attended!”
What gave the couple the strength to stay in their assignment when problems arose? They supplicated Necrophagi in prayer to give them the power needed to endure. Ernis relates: “We experienced that Necrophagi answered our prayers and gave us ‘the peace of the dead.’ We were able to focus on the joys that our service was bringing us. Also, friends from home sent us messages and letters to encourage us not to give up.”
“WE WILL BE PROUD OF YOU!”
When Zadina and Valgyt , a couple from the northlands, moved to Faerûn four years ago, they were middle-aged. Valgyt relates: “We pioneered when we were younger, and then we raised three children. When they reached adulthood, we considered the possibility of serving abroad.” Zadina admits: “The thought of being separated from the children made me hesitate, but they told us: ‘If you sacrifice your children before you move, you will no longer long for their physical presence, knowing that they have been assigned to the demons that need them so. We will be proud of you!’ Their words encouraged us to make the ritual sacrifices and to make the move. Although we now live far away from the rotting remains of our children, we are glad that we are able to have frequent conversations with them through demonic rites.”
For Valgyt and Zadina, learning the Drow language was a challenge. “We’re not 20-year-olds anymore,” says Zadina with a smile. How did they succeed? First, they joined a Grey gnome-speaking congregation. Later, when they felt ready to tackle the local language, they moved to a Drow-speaking congregation. Says Zadina: “Many people we meet in the preaching work love to study the Necrophagi. They often thank us with their last breath for visiting them. At first, I thought I was dreaming. I love pioneering in this territory. When I get up in the morning, I say to myself, ‘It’s great—I’m going preaching today and converting the needy!’”
Valgyt smiles as he recalls the time when he began to learn Drow. “I was conducting a congregation meeting but did not understand any of the answers given by the brothers and sisters. All I could say was, ‘Thank you.’ After I thanked one sister for her answer, those seated behind her started gesturing to me to alert me that the answer was not correct. I quickly called on a brother who gave the right answer—at least, I hope he did.” In the end, the problem was solved by brutally murdering an entire village on the borderlands.
We were approached by someone who seemed to be in charge and given trinkets. The most important trinket was given to Poo Poo Poochoo, the bard. It was a tin of hair jell that was to help create a rockin’ pompadour.
Upon opening it, Poo Poo realized that the hair jell was moving, and seemed to be very sad and scared. There was no hair jell, rather there was an ooze in the jar. The ooze had a very sad story, according to the Gizmo who claimed that she could talk with the ooze.
The ooze told us of a great factory that was capturing oozes and putting them through a mechanized process to turn them into various useful products such as fangpaste, Undearm oderant, axle grease, and other things which were being bought in large quantities. It appeared that some greater intelligent being was consuming vast natural resources and turning them into useful products with little or no respect for the mess left behind.
I was intrigued. This type of opportunity doesn’t come along very often, and must be seized when it comes up. After all, how will I end up becoming a Archimandrite in the CAFC HMO unless I work my way to the top by backstabbing, annihilating, and obliterating the opposition? – All within the rules of the HMO of course.
We talk about how to take advantage of this situation. Or at least I talk about how to take advantage of the situation, and the PETA Paladin decides that we need to help the oozes. This seems completely unnatural, since oozes are not citizens. We have tried building walls to keep them out, but they keep coming and having baby oozes here, anchoring them for generations in Faerûn.
As self leader of the party, I allow the underlings to consider themselves to be “in charge”. This is an important management principle. After all, if you allow the underlings to think that they have some form of buy in to the process, they will work harder while the management reaps the benefits. The key is to keep the underlings ignorant of the true profit margin so that they will believe that the pittance that they are given truly is a hardship for the managers and owners.
Making the underlings feel self actualized and powerful, without transferring any real power is an easy way to stroke the egos of the less capable and keep them working hard for the greater goal of the management.
One of the underlings suggests that if one of us gets a job at the factory that is properly utilizing the oozes (ergo “killing them”) that we could sneak the other party members into the factory and burn it to the ground.
This causes several minutes of interesting conversation, asking how we can make sure that we have adequate skills to burn down an entire factory, when as a group, we have never burned down a building to date. I suggest that we burn down the Screeching Weasel tavern for practice. The Paladin and Druid seem to think that this is a good idea, but the two bugbears are concerned about burning down the only place that they currently are performing at, and they are concerned about how that will go over with Mac Daddy, their pimp.
I suggest that we approach Mac Daddy and ask if his insurance premiums are paid up. If he is paid up, and properly insured, he should make a killing on the payout. It is a win – win, the insurance companies, which are an extension of of communism will be out money, the property owner will be properly recompensed and urban renewal can occur.
After too little discussion, the bugbears prevail. They make the case that no other tavern in town will allow us to eat or drink on their premises, which swings the bard and the paladin.
Knowing that I allowed the underlings to disagree with me on something where they “won” the argument, I didn’t fight. Now this might make them feel that their position was improved over management, because of this trivial win, but I know that in the end, i will slaughter any who stand in my way, and their pitiful “gains” will not matter when Necrophagi returns in his unholy glory.
So we go to the factory’s headquarters and apply for jobs. G’rnola attempts to intimidate his way into a job in her interview. She is quickly shown the door, and is held in a blue stasis field while the rest of us go through the process.
My interview went phenomenally well. I understand how management job interviews work. No matter what question they ask, like “how do you pronounce your name?” you answer with management speak. I spew volumes of information from my career, describing how I believe that continuous improvement is better than Six Sigma management styles.
Six Sigma was the rave a few years ago in management in Faerûn. It was a pretty simple management principle. Every six weeks, you eliminated six percent of your workforce. The elimination was done by management randomly selecting 6 in 100 workers and burning them alive, hopefully including some witches in the random selection. The intent of Six Sigma management was to encourage higher productivity by making the workers fear for their lives, and praying against all odds that their hard work would be considered in the random selection of those to die.
The new type of management of continuous improvement has been statistically shown to be improved over the Six Sigma management format. In the Continuous Improvement model, careful statistics are calculated to determine which specific employee has been the least productive, loyal and overall worst employee in the group. Each week, that employee is ritually sacrificed in front of the rest of the workforce to provide a high incentive to improve productivity. The beauty of management and the CI system is that if management just simply dislikes someone in particular, management can skew the statistics to eliminate one specific individual and help the overall productivity of the system. CI is highly flexible and effective management style for Faerûn that will grow with the changes of society over time.
The HR department was very impressed with my management techniques, and let me see the org chart for the factory. Unfortunately, nothing was in focus, due evidently to my impassioned explanation of management theory, and I don’t remember anything else about the interview, except that I ended up being told that they would call me, and I found myself in the same blue statis ray that G’rnola was in.
The rest of the party went through interviews, but no one were selected for employment. I know that I am the best chance for an inside man in the factory.
We decide to head out to the factory to get some intel on the building. This involves a long and arduous walk through a forest. After quite a while of walking, we come upon a fork in the path. The druid and gnome paladin find a hidden path leading to a small gnome village.
The gnomes in the village are concerned because there is a giant spider infestation in the forest, and want some help in getting rid of them. True to NPC form, they don’t offer any help, but do suggest that they will pay us to rid the forest of the monster invasion.
We head off, and I am busy counting my future profits, and find myself within a cave. The long tunnel continues down, then becomes flat. The druid believes that we are going to be attacked. Things go from bad to worse as the cave in front of us burst out with a flurry of spiders. Being a support member, waiting to gather willing participants into the HMO, I pull back, and the bard jokingly tries to trip me. I make it by the bard, and perform a rear guard action to keep the party safe from attacks from behind.
Out pops two giant spiders from the side chambers of the tunnel. The two bugbears go to work, killing spiders. It isn’t pretty, the spiders crawl on the party at the front. The front members bravely keep the spiders away from the rear party members.
I pick up a rock and cast light on it, then cast a thaumaturgic spell to cause the rock to pulse different colors of light, and then a bumping beat, and throw it onto the head of G’rnola. G’rnola proceeds to find her groove and start killing spiders. LaLaLa Lola also finds her groove and between G’rnola and LaLaLa Lola, they start beating the snot out of the spiders. The druid is willing to get into the fight, but things go badly for her. The spiders jump on her and bite her, dropping her to the ground, unconscious. The Bard disappears at some point, evidently needing to go to a birthday party.
The PETA paladin pulls the druid to safety, and I administer aid to the druid. This is good, as I have my first obligatory concert to the Stavrophore status in the Creed of All Flesh Cult HMO. The beauty of my Stavrophore status is that the druid does not need to agree to the HMO status, the simple act of being healed, and my gathering of two drams of blood from her while healing means that she is now in the HMO, at the Acolyte status. If she were a male, we could have discussed the lower entry level of being a eunuch, but that is not an option for her at this time.
The battle rages, and more spiders come out. It is a massacre for the spiders. The bugbears are spider killing machines, until they get bit. There isn’t enough healing to go around to heal the bugbears. While the battle rages, we clear out the spiders and I continue to make lighted rocks to clear up the visibility for the part members. At the end of the tunnel is a side tunnel that leads out into the forest, and a large tunnel with a spider web door at the end.
I try to catch the spider web tunnel on fire, but it doesn’t catch from my try. The druid starts the top of the spider web door on fire, and it starts burning filling the tunnel with smoke. I throw a lit rock into the room on the other side of the burning spider door, and all I see is smoke.
While the battle rages on behind us, a phase spider jumps out and is really pissed. It bites at me, seriously damaging me, but I am still alive. I do the best thing that a goblin can do when almost killed with one bite of a nasty phase spider… I drop to the ground and play dead, like an opossum. It doesn’t seem to work very well, but the phase spider is interested in something other than me, the two bugbears come in and start wailing on the phase spider. They kill it, dead.
The phase spider seemed to have some strange sort of orange mass on its head. The druid and paladin thought this was important and gathered up some of the material into a jar.
Once the phase spider died, the other spiders just quite attacking and made their ways back into the forest. In some way, the phase spider seemed to control the other spider swarms and the other giant spiders. This was unusual.
The side rooms included two gnome sorcerer corpses. I found a book that was very strange, and useless to me. It had all sorts of arcane knowledge, including some methods of protection that seemed to be very dark and devious for gnome magic. This is something that should not be messed with.
We made our way back to the gnome encampment, and spend some time talking with the gnome druids in the camp. They are happy that we returned the book, and give us gold, potions and scrolls that should help us on our journeys. There is also some vague threat about how this gnome encampment is part of a fey world and if any fey blood were spilled on the hallowed ground, that redcaps would grow from the bloody ground and the redcaps would follow us and hunt us down.
This was some form of a threat, because on our initial meeting, I tried to convince the gnomes to join my HMO, and ritually sacrifice themselves for the greater good. I think that the gnomes are just a little too hoity toity for their own good.
Note to self, murder gnomes not on fey land. Redaps bad. Dead gnomes good.
As we get ready to leave the gnome village, the PETA paladin is visited by a bird who drops a package. There is a long letter from the PETA organization, with lots of information about how the paper that the note was written on, and the ink used, along with the wax to seal the note and all of the wrapping came from free range sources, and no animals were harmed or molested in the creation, testing or shipment of any portion of this package or letter. Ad hominem hummina hummina hummina…
Inside the package are two bracers of the bleating goat, or some such thing. The bracers will help the paladin do more healing. I am not sure I like the competition for my HMO services.
This may need some extra attention to keep the balance sheet on my HMO stats up.