July 6, 2016

Chaotic Stupid: Argax the Black

Comment from the Finger: Quick break from the usual Wednesday fare. Here's an article written by the Thumb relating a story or two from our table. Enjoy!

Hey guys and gals! I have a special treat for you today. I want to relate to you the legacy of one of the players in my D&D group, a guy by the name of Adam (funny enough, he's the Finger's twin brother). Adam is always an entertaining player. He consistently plays comic-relief, "chaotic stupid" characters who derail plots and get us into trouble. He's borderline "That Guy" at times, but we let it slide because the results of his characters' actions are always so damn funny.

Argax the Black

This was a couple years ago, playing good ol' 3.5e. The Finger had recently finished DMing his first campaign for us, and I took over DM duty for my own first experience. He had mostly railroaded us through his story (which was still very good, don't get me wrong), so I decided to do the opposite and give the group a sandbox to play in (a bad idea on hindsight). I told them to go nuts with character builds, as long as they could explain their characters' abilities from a roleplay perspective. The party was starting at a medium level, I think around level 10, so they had plenty of room to prestige and take all sorts of feats. We ended up with a party full of incredibly optimized builds, including a human duskblade-wizard-abjurant champion (the Finger's character) and a gnome wizard-shadowcraft mage.

And then there was Argax the Black. Half barbarian, half warblade, half dragon, all crazy. He specialized in unarmed fighting, and took a series of feats that gave him a natural weapon combo of claw-claw-bite-horns-tail whip, and an acid breath weapon that recharged every 1d4 rounds. The levels in warblade gave him access to stuff like punishing stance, which gave him even more damage on top of the already impressive fistful of dice. Oh yeah, and with modifiers, ability score increases, and magic items, his Strength bonus was +10, Constitution was something like +5. The rest of his scores, especially Intelligence and Charisma, were abysmal. One more detail: He put a single skill point into Profession: Gourmet Chef. Yeah.

To give you an idea of Argax's personality, he collects the body parts of everyone he's killed and sticks them in a bag of holding that he always carries around. Also, he once killed five people with his acid breath in what would have otherwise been a nonlethal barfight, just because he felt left out.

Anyway, we have lots of stories about Adam, and about Argax in particular, but I'll keep this relatively short and tell you one of my favorites.

Argax and the Village People

The embarrassingly angsty plot of my campaign involved a more eastern-themed setting (read: weeaboo) involving 7 immortals scattered across the continent whom the party was tasked with gathering in order to defeat a Zalgo-esque Far Realm creature from destroying the entire multiverse. They had access to things like teleportation pads and airships to speed the journey along. During one of their excursions to the far reaches of society, across an arid desert, the party came across a large village inhabited exclusively by tough-looking people (every commoner had at least 1 level of barbarian). Street fights were common and happened at least 3 times a day, due to the combative nature of the villagers.

In the center of town, atop a pile of bleached skulls, sat a throne constructed of bones (skulls for the skull throne!), and atop that throne sat the most roided-up half orc you'll ever meet. The party quickly learned that this town's "government" operated on a "survival of the fittest" principle. Simply put, the strongest person in town is the chieftain. If somebody in town wishes to dispute the chieftain's leadership, they may challenge him to an unarmed fight to the death. The winner becomes (or remains) chieftain of the village, and the loser is beheaded and his skull is added to the skull throne.

Of course, Argax wants to become chieftain. He challenges the guy and they meet in a small arena at dawn. Now, this guy was no joke. Some sort of warblade build with pretty optimal feat selection (I forget the details). But let me remind you that this was an unarmed fight. And Argax has 5 natural weapon attacks per turn, a broken amount of strength, and warblade stances. The guy didn't stand a chance. He got in a few punches and kicks, and then Argax gutted him.

Argax becomes the new chieftain, and the party departs. Adam gets a new character. More adventuring happens. Eventually, the party heads back in that direction after a few months. Behind the scenes, I asked Adam what Argax had been doing as the new chieftain, and we made some opposed skill rolls to determine the villagers' reactions.

The party is a few miles from the village when they see a massive dust cloud. Through a spyglass, the cloud resolves into hundreds of tiny black specks, chasing a single other black speck. The party realizes what is happening as they get closer. The entire village is armed to the teeth and chasing Argax across the salt flats. But many of the villagers look different. Their entire bodies are painted black. Their teeth and nails have been filed down to points. Goats' horns have been pasted to their heads. The party moves to intercept the crowd, ending up running alongside Argax.

Mal (Finger's character): Argax, why are we running?!

Argax: I don't know! I fucked up! I fucked up bad!

Mal: What did you do?!

Argax: I just wanted them to be like me! They got so mad!

Eventually they got away, Argax having permanently scarred an entire village. As it turned out, the village resisted for a while, challenging him almost daily. The pile under the skull throne grew significantly. Eventually, as Argax implemented more stupid and degrading laws, (like dressing up people to look like him, a half-black dragon) they started attacking him in groups. And the entire village, previously a bunch of independent, stubborn, combative assholes, managed to band together just to be rid of Argax the Black.

Argax and the Random Occurrences

Here are a few other feats Argax has accomplished.

Argax once managed to accidentally construct a flesh golem from the bodyparts he'd been collecting. He named the raging monstrosity Candi. Yes, with an 'i'.

Argax often used his single rank in Profession (Gourmet Chef) to cook fancy meals...out of the aforementioned bodyparts.

Argax had a few levels in Warblade (3.5's Battlemaster) but almost never used the maneuvers because he was too dumb to remember them.

8 comments:

  1. Got a good laugh out of this one.

    Back in 3.5 I DMed for a bunch of people which included a dude seriously obsessed with dragons... I mean seriously! To the point where he would offer me homecooked meals prepared by his mother to just be allowed to play a silver dragon.
    When the party first came to Sigil I uttered the fatal phrase "You can find anything here, seriously guys, nothing is off the table".

    And thus said silver dragon searched for a brothel with draconic personell, which he found because at that point I thought "what the heck, might as well hand him a bone" (pun intended).
    He then went to procure a red dragon lady's services, which also was no biggy. But then he wanted me describe, in great detail, what exactly the two dragons would be doing, which felt so very awkward and just plain wrong.

    I have never again felt so dirty and violated after a D&D session again xD

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    1. Reminds me of that one webcomic with the piss wizard.
      This one:
      http://gunshowcomic.com/471

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    2. Man, I thought that *I* liked dragons. Compared to this guy, I do not like dragons.

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  2. Just thought of another Adam story. In a different campaign, he was playing some sort of arcane caster. At one point, we were talking to the chief of some tribal village. Adam took offense at something he said, so he turned the guy blue and made him smell like fish using prestidigitation, cast grease under his feet, called his wife something dirty, and flew away.

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  3. "Argax had a few levels in Warblade (3.5's Battlemaster) but almost never used the maneuvers because he was too dumb to remember them."

    That caused the biggest chuckle of them all, especially considering how optimized you described everyone else to be

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    1. Right! It's just as funny in person.

      The character even had a catchphrase: "Hail Tiamat!" (It was the only deity Argax was remotely aware of.)

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  4. I played an awakened housecat warlock once in college. It took three sessions before any of the characters realized he was anything other than a very intelligent cat. Longer to figure out they didn't need to keep burning Speak with Animals to talk with him.

    I've played a lot of magical cats over the years.

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