This comic is the fault of a certain Magic: the Gathering card. However, it’s important to note that the principle of “too much force” applies to more situations than treasure chests. Is it time for another tale from the table? You bet your last treasure token it is!

So no shit there they were, rushing into danger like good musketeers ought. Invaders from elf-Spain were storming the castle of France-but-with-flying-islands, and our brave band of heroes had to stem the tide.

There in the dungeons, a captured political prisoner had enacted his master plan. With nothing but some rat blood, a prison shank, and couple of paper clips, he’d managed to open a portal. A literal army of long-eared, tapas-swilling soldiers were pouring through. My players were all set for Thermopylae style, hold-the-gates action. And knowing that the odds were against the party, I (in my infinite wisdom) decided to give them a little help.

Figuring it was high time they made peace with the anti-party in the Cardinal’s Guard, I placed their frenemy NPCs in the dungeon too. I assumed that, faced with a major crisis, my honorable PCs would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their countrymen. I underestimated how much they hated those guys.

“As you dash through the first prison ward, you hear the clash of steel down a nearby passage. Familiar voices raise a cry, ‘For the Cardinal!’ What do you do?”

The players huddled. There was much giggling and side-eying. “You remember that necklace of fireballs we picked up a couple of sessions ago?”

The blood left my face. “How many do you throw? Just one bead, right?”

“Naw,” said one supremely self-satisfied musketeer. “The whole thing.”

I looked down at my notes. I looked at the battlefield. I calculated the average damage. And then I asked, “Are you sure?”

“Sure I’m sure! Two birds with one fireball!”

What the necklace-hurling player did not know was that the anti-party had been busy. I had it in my notes that they’d bested the first wave of invaders. They’d even managed to capture the spy that had come through with them. The same spy who had started the campaign as ol’ Chucky McFireball’s Milady de Winter one-true-love.

Boom went the dynamite. Boom went my plans for dramatic interrogation, courtroom, and execution scenes between lovers. And boom went the next five minutes of session time as I furiously debated a rewrite. Because it turned out Milady did not possess ~39d6 fire damage worth of hit points, and neither did her important-for-the-plot satchel filled with, “I’m a double-agent and never stopped loving you,” documents.

How about the rest of you guys? Have you ever hulked out and smashed too soon? What did you destroy in your zeal, and what approach should you have taken instead? Tell us all about those broken items, murdered NPCs, and collapsed castles down in the comments!


THIS COMIC SUCKS! IT NEEDS MORE [INSERT OPINION HERE] Is your favorite class missing from the Handbook of Heroes? Maybe you want to see more dragonborn or aarakocra? Then check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. You’ll become part of the monthly vote to see which elements get featured in the comic next!