Wererat gangs, drow matriarchies, and hobgoblin armies are a dime a dozen. That’s why we asked all our Quest Givers on Patreon to give our heroes a more obscure monstrous organization to battle. Thus it fell to Occultist to face off against the Homeowners Association of Leng. (Better luck next time to all those merfolk astronauts, tax dragons, and members of the local hag hot yoga studio who auditioned for the comic.)

Now I know what you’re thinking. That’s because I too am a pedantic nerd: How the crap is a basic-ass magic circle against evil hedging out a powerful evil outsider? Surely the HOA of Leng isn’t a summoned creature? And you’re right. It’s not. But then again, I suspect that the tentacular weirdos in yellow robes aren’t the ‘great and terrible powers’ that the Handbook references

You may recall that Occultist is something of a gamesman. She’ll “accidentally” overlook encumbrance, “assume we healed” between sessions, or conveniently forget that rolls-off-the-table don’t count when there’s a big number on the die. And while today’s dubious tactics aren’t quite on the “lying about your die roll” level, they are still all manner of manipulative. That’s because Occultist’s is employing her Bluff score against a hideous monster behind a thin protective barrier. The barrier in question just happens to be made of cardboard. 

Any time you wait for your GM to call you on a complex and oft-overlooked rule, you’re doing the same thing. I’m talking about letting teleport go without a mishap roll, forgetting to remind your dominated monster that it’s not obligated to jump off a cliff, or rolling fall damage against an enemy mage after you’ve dispelled fly. Any one of these errors is easy to make, but you’re in cheaty-face territory when you “forget” on purpose.

That said, I recall a Mordheim game from my college days that I’m still proud of. It’s the one example I can conjure up of the “good” version of this technique. The players’ best heroes had all banded together in a single warband. Our game master opposed us with an Empire army. Our mission was to sneak into the enemy camp commando style. Once we’d infiltrated, we would spike the Imperial cannons before they could raze the evil haunted city we still wanted to loot. This was not an easy mission.

We were down to the penultimate round. It was well past midnight, and every gamer in the place was bleary-eyed and sleepy. Knowing that it was now or never, my orc shaman made a desperate gambit. He used a short-range teleport spell to get out of melee and into range of the artillery. If I could start my final turn within 2″ of the guns, the game was over and Team Super Friends would win. There was just one snag. My suicidally courageous shaman would have to weather three cannons’ worth of point-blank grapeshot fire.

“Pass the turn to you,” I told our GM. Then me and my team collectively waited for the inevitable. Our worthy opponent furrowed his brow.  He surveyed the scene, began to estimate distances, and then a glimmer of hope shone through.

“I don’t think there’s any way I can win,” he said. “None of my units are within charge range of the greenskin shaman. He’s going to win it on the next orc turn.”

My compatriots and I held our breaths. We tried desperately to keep our poker faces intact. Because we’d been gaming for nearly eight hours at that point, and no one wanted to remind our worthy opponent that the cannons themselves were active units, or that they could easily vaporize my pesky orc.

What about the rest of you guys? Have you ever managed to bluff your way past a GM? Is it necessarily unethical? Or is it just part of the game when you let your GM forget to take an AoO? My victorious orc mob certainly thinks that all’s fair in love and WAAAGH! So employ all your cunning, read up on your Sun Tzu, and tell us all about your own fast ones successfully pulled down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Thrice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.