Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tale of the Vampire Moose

"I'm-a gonna suck yer blood, hur hur hur."

With 'Auld Lang Syne' stuck in my head for New Year's, thought I'd share a humorous (to me, anyway) anecdote from a campaign from years back.

One of the PCs had been turned into a vampire.  In the interest of not succumbing to his new, monstrous nature, he told his fellows he was heading off into the forest to feed on an animal.  Upon returning, he informed the rest of the party that he had drained a moose dry and should be 'okay' blood-wise for several days. 

"Did you kill the moose?"
"Well, I presume so.  I drank a helluva lot of its blood."
"Sure, but did you snap the neck or anything?  Stick around while the heart stopped?"
"Dude, you're the worst goddamn vampire ever."

The PCs immediately began teasing the vampire about the possibility that the moose had either survived, or...become a vampire moose, transformed by the bite of the PC vampire.  Twenty minutes of teasing that session; and a further mention in every subsequent session of that game.  Melodramatic mock-paranoia about the vampire-moose returning to wreak revenge upon its creator, that sort of thing.  And then it got brought up regularly in other campaigns, any time that player - or another - did something that could be construed as careless.

There was even a 'vampire moose' call:  "mmmmMMMMMMMM-BAH."  I have no idea why that was the noise a vampire moose makes - a long, throaty 'moo' ending something like a stereotypical vampire "blah" - but it stuck.  To this day.

Frankly, I look forward to inflicting a vampire moose on my current batch of players.  The vampire moose, of course, has all the abilities of a human vampire, including turning into mist or a bat -- but it must take moose form to feed.  I can't wait to see the player reaction when one of 'em wakes up in the middle of the night to see a gigantic hulking red-eyed moose lapping lifeblood from their henchman's neck.  Caught in the act, the vampire moose flees, dissolving into mist, leaving only its haunting call echoing through the trees --


A Goblin Called 'Hamburger Soup'

Like most other six-year-olds, our son is wildly creative.  His imagination is fertile, well-encouraged, and, on top of this, he has very few preconceived notions - there aren't many guardrails keeping his imagination in check.

Since he's at the "imaginary friend" stage, and he's our kid, it didn't come as much of a surprise that his imaginary friends for a while were a group of goblins.  Five or six of 'em, of the mischievous, nose-picking variety - they were very good at giving The Boy a chance to demonstrate his knowledge of proper manners, as he was always telling them to stop doing rude things.  The chief goblin - or at least the one who always came out to dinner with us - was a guy called 'Hamburger Soup'.  My God, that name still tickles me.  That's the kind of brilliance I expect from a six-year-old.

Kids are great at this kind of stuff.  Check out The Monster Engine, wherein an artist re-does children's drawings 'realistically'.  And you may have heard of Axe Cop, the comic plotted by a kid and illustrated by his big brother.  So why aren't I harnessing this primeval imagination?  I've been cogitating on some gaming-related experiments I can run with The Boy and see how they turn out.

* Monsters and chimerae -- I'm no artist, and neither is The Boy, but if you get him going he comes up with some seriously crazy shit.  I'm positive if he and I started making up monsters his would be better than mine.  This experiment would probably have to be done a couple times, since after a while he sticks to one thing - they'd all have laser-eyes or something after the first few.

* Maps based on his drawings -- Most of The Boy's artwork is a series of belligerent, technicolor scrawls.  I bet some of those could be cave complexes with next to zero work on my part.

* Populating a rather gonzo dungeon -- "What's in this big room here?"  "Zombie chicken helicopters."  "And in this room, with the columns?"  "Angry robot eats your feet off!"  And so on.

So I'm going to conduct some of these experiments with The Boy over the coming weeks and months, and post the best stuff here with the tag 'hamburger soup'.